Personalized medicine has been a reality for years, but above all it is the future. For this reason, it is not without challenges to achieve its maximum efficiency and potential. The “real” incorporation into the portfolio of Public Health services, the specific training of professionals, networking and equitable access are some of the challenges it faces.
From left to right: Jorge Aboal, Nekane Murga, Isabel López and Isaac Tunísia. PHOTO EFE/Eduardo Oyana
In this way they have shown it health representatives of the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha, Galicia and the Basque Country in the debate organized by the EFE Agency, in collaboration with Rocheabout the challenges ahead of personalized medicine.
With the title “The autonomous challenge of personalized medicine”have participated the coordinator of Personalized Medicine and High Impact Therapies of the Basque Country, Nekane Murga; the Director of Hospitals of the Castilla-La Mancha Health Service, Isabel López; the general secretary of Public Health and R+D+i of Andalusia, Isaac Tunísia; and the general director of Galicia’s Health Care, Jorge Aboal.
Personalized medicine is the adaptation of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient using precision medicine as a tool, which relies on treatments based on genetic studies and other factors.
They all agreed that personalized medicine already represents the present in the treatment of cancer but also the future for the prevention, diagnosis and specific treatment of other diseases, and with fewer side effects.
The tip of the iceberg
“They are ways to identify diseases more precisely in each person, there is no longer one lung cancer, there are 25 different ones depending on the mutation, the cause”, he pointed out Nekane Murga.
It’s a different way of approaching medicine. It goes to the origin of the pathologies and makes it possible to know which people will be at risk of developing them.
For thatthe Andalusian Secretary of Public Health has insisted that in addition to being personalized it is necessary, with a “huge” development potential of which currently only “the tip of the iceberg” has been applied.
It can even be applied to rare diseases.
In this way, the general director of Health Assistance of Galicia has insisted that we are all human but with different genetic codes. This is where personalized medicine comes into play, so that the disease has a different molecular component.
“It’s the present and it’s even the past”, pointed out lto Director of Hospitals of the Castilla-La Mancha Health Service, who added that work has already been done in this field. However, he stressed that he has several challenges ahead to, among other things, carry out public health initiatives and specific interventions “more efficiently”.
New professional profiles
During the debate, the four speakers agreed to highlight the importance of having new professional profiles to implement personalized medicine. Process engineers, bioinformatics, experts in artificial intelligence… with the need to define their role within healthcare. And have more training for health personnel in this field.
For this reason, the need for the teams to be multidisciplinary. And that not only the new professionals join, but also those who are already there, including those in Primary Care.
All four have insisted that access to this personalized medicine is equitable, regardless of where in the country the patient lives.
For this reason, the “real” incorporation into the basic portfolio of services of the National Health System (SNS) is one of the challenges of personalized medicine, which has been highlighted by the Andalusian representative, Isaac Tunísia. Knowing how and when to do it is key.
Galicia has opted for networking because, as Aboal said, “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with them”, so that knowledge is shared not only between the different autonomous regions, but also outside the country .
Prioritize and know what needs to be done first. It is another of the fundamental challenges of personalized medicine that Isabel López has highlighted, since this field is “so huge” that it is necessary to go step by step “because if it covers a lot, it narrows a little”. “It’s about prioritizing and collaborating with each other,” he said.
The representative of the Basque Country has advocated for balanced progress in technology, training, networking and data management to be able to measure results, given that this medicine is not cheap.
First game: 40 million
On this subject, the speakers have trusted that with the advancement of technology, personalized medicine will become more and more economical.
Likewise, all four were satisfied with the first item of 40 million euros authorized last November by the Council of Ministers to consolidate personalized medicine and develop the plan known as 5P.
It is known as 5P medicine for the initial letter of personalized, predictive preventive, participative and population.