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Programme 2019
Benelux Precision Medicine Forum
13-14 May 2019, Utrecht

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Scroll down for the full agenda or download the programme in PDF format (updated 1/02/19).
DAY 1 - Monday 13 May, 2019
12:15 - 13:00
Registration and Lunch
13:00 - 13:10
Opening Remarks from the Chair
13:10 - 14:45
Exploring the Future Direction of Precision Medicine: What We Hope to Achieve and Required Next Steps

A panel of expert speakers from across the Benelux region will share their views on what has been achieved to date in the implementation of precision medicine; where they believe it is heading in the near future; and where the focus needs to be in order to achieve key aims and objectives. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Examining key advancements and enablers in the development and implementation of precision medicine
  • Identifying the current legal, regulatory, societal and ethical obstacles restricting its further development
  • Assessing how regulatory and healthcare frameworks in different countries need to adapt to overcome these obstacles and enable innovation and delivery:
    • what can be done to improve reimbursement pathways for precision medicine to encourage better collaboration between regulators and health technology and diagnostic test providers?

 Prof Dr Marc Van Den Bulcke, Head of the Cancer Centre, Sciensano

Senior Representative, EBE-EFPIA Personalised Medicine Working Group

The presentations will be followed by an in-depth panel Q&A discussion; delegates are invited to ask questions and share their own views.
14:45 - 15:15
Leveraging Digital Data & Biomarkers to Enable Precision Medicine

 Oliver Gassner, Head Digital Health Intelligence EMEA, Bayer

15:15 - 15:45
Refreshments and Networking
15:45 - 17:15
Interactive Sessions
These focused, interactive sessions give you the opportunity to discuss a key topic of interest to you in a more participative format. Each session will be led by a facilitator who will lead the discussion and encourage maximum debate and sharing of ideas.
A. Getting the Most Out of “Big Data”
B. Exploring the Potential Use of Blockchain-Based Data Sharing & Access to Improve the Quality of Clinical Research
C. Innovative Approaches to Clinical Trial Design
D. Best Practice Strategies for Successfully Implementing Precision Medicine into Clinical Practice

This list is not definitive at this stage. Additional topics will be added in due course. If you would be interested in facilitating a workshop, or have ideas for topics, please contact us.

17:15 - 17:30
Closing remarks from the Chair
Complimentary Networking Drinks Reception
DAY 2 - Tuesday 14 May, 2019
08:30 - 09.00
Welcome Refreshments and Networking
09:00 - 09.05
Opening Remarks from the Chair
09:05 - 09.30
Keynote address: Advancing Personalised Medicine Across Europe: Priorities & Opportunities

 Manuel Mateo Goyet, Cabinet Member of Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, European Commission

09:30 - 09.50
Update on the Netherland X-Omics Initiative

 Prof Dr Alain van Gool, Professor, Personalized Healthcare & Head, Translational Metabolic Laboratory, Radboud UMC

09:50 - 10.10
Clinician’s Perspective: Using Precision Medicine Research in Practice for Patients’ Benefit
10:10 - 10:25
10:25 - 10:50
Morning Refreshments and Networking
The programme will now split into 2 tracks. Delegates are invited to choose the track they would like to attend.
Leveraging the Power of “Big Data” in Precision Medicine
One of the biggest challenges to advancing precision medicine is managing the huge volumes of data being created. Appropriate bioinformatic methods for managing, integrating, sharing and analysing complex biological data are required to enable reinforcement of commonalities, reduction of “noise” and identification of the right clinical result.
Data Sharing: Effectively Managing the Legal, Technical and Ethical Obstacles to Data Sharing
  • Understanding actual vs perceived barriers to the sharing of genomic and health data:
    • working with relevant stakeholders to influence and overcome these barriers
  • Examining the extent to which the introduction of GDPR has impacted on the accessing and sharing of healthcare data, and how this can be managed
  • Managing patient privacy and confidentiality concerns regarding healthcare data sharing
  • Effectively linking patient e-health records and national data registers to establish a research database and facilitate shared decision-making
  • Exploring the use and potential of blockchain-based data sharing and access
Data Integration: Overcoming the Challenges of Integrating Large Volumes of Complex Data from Heterogeneous Sources
  • Exploring new methods for integrating genetic data that is from different sources, in different formats, processed in different ways:
    • finding the meaningful overlap and reducing “noise”
    • techniques for normalising the data
  • Successfully integrating lifestyle and behavioural data with biological information
  • Developing robust, transparent and standardised bioinformatic pipelines to provide timely and useful clinical information
  • Using new data analysis tools to gain better insights from the information available
  • Techniques for reporting the findings in a coherent way: encouraging closer interactions between bioinformaticians and clinicians for better clinical reporting

 Prof Dr Peter-Bram t’Hoen, Professor of Bioinformatics & Head, Centre for Molecular and Biomolecular Informatics (CMBI), Radboud University Medical Centre

Successfully Analysing & Interpreting Complex Omics Data to Make Sense of Biological Big Data
  • Examining how data collected from different omics can correlate with, and be analysed alongside, each other
  • Developing novel methods for multi-omics data integration to extract biologically relevant information:
    • how can different omics relate to the same group of patients
  • Techniques for effectively integrating all omics layers into clinical trial design

 Dr Clara van Karnebeek, Principal Investigator, Departments of Paediatrics and Clinical Genetics, Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam

Integration of Multi-Cellular and Multi-Layered Immune Cell Data to Stratify Rheumatological Diseases
  • Stratification/reclassification of patients with clinically defined rheumatological diseases
  • Integration of multi-cellular OMICS data generated from immune cell profiling
  • Systems Immunology: from proof-of-concept to translational research

 Dr Aridaman Pandit, Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Translational Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU)

From EMIF to EHDEN – scaling up the big data ecosystem across Europe

 Nigel Hughes, Scientific Director, Janssen Clinical Innovation

Q & A Discussion
Networking Lunch
Biomarker Development & Diagnostics

A recognised bottleneck in the advancement of precision medicine is the identification, development and validation of appropriate predictive biomarkers. These are a vital tool to provide the link between research, clinical trials and implementation. This session will look at the future development of biomarkers, how their use in clinical practice can be improved and facilitated, as well as emerging diagnostic techniques for better disease prediction and prognosis.
Accelerating Biomarker Discovery & Validation for Use in Clinical Trials
  • Identifying the key challenges to biomarker validation and how to overcome these:
    • determining pathways that will lead to better validation
  • Changing the role and requirements of biomarkers in the design and implementation of clinical trials
  • Examining the use of patient involvement in biomarker development
  • Analysing the economics of biomarker development – who should pay and how can the value proposition be increased?
  • Techniques to enhance and accelerate biomarker discovery and validation processes to improve their effective transition into clinical use
Developing Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers for Personalised Drug Therapy

 Prof. Dr. Ron HN van Schaik, Professor of Pharmacogenetics, Erasmus University Medical Center

Developing the Use of Mass Spectrometry as a Diagnostic Tool for Translating Molecular Insights into Clinical Solutions
Developing Diagnostic Technologies for Clinical Application: Robust NGS-based Translocation Detection in FFPE Tumour Samples

Chromosomal translocations are long known as drivers of leukemia, but are more recently also found as key oncogenic events in solid tumours. Consequently, such tumours are now also routinely analyzed in the clinic for the presence of these translocations. For example, translocation identification in non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) is essential to select the optimal treatment and is obligatory for the thousands of stage IV (metastatic) lung cancers in the Netherlands. Similarly, many malignant lymphomas and sarcomas are routinely analyzed for the presence of cancer-driving translocations, for diagnosis, prognosis and/or therapy choice.

In current routine clinical practice, solid tumour biopsies are stored as formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) material. Translocation detection in FFPE specimens is inherently difficult as the DNA is crosslinked and fragmented. Most often, microscopy-based fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) is applied to search for translocations. FISH has the limitation however that each translocation analysis requires a separate experiment and that results are not always conclusive.

RNA-based methods offer an alternative for translocation detection but are hampered by poor RNA quality, limited to the detection of gene fusions and only score known rearrangements. A more unbiased, robust and informative, all-in-one assay that for each tumour type simultaneously analyzes all candidate genes for any type of rearrangement, is therefore desired in the clinic.

Here we present 4C-FFPE as a novel robust NGS-based technology for the detection of clinically relevant fusion genes and non-genic translocations in FFPE tumour samples.

 Prof Dr Wouter de Laat, Group Leader, Hubrecht Institute, Principal Investigator, Oncode & Professor of Biomedical Genomics, University Medical Center, Utrecht

Examining the Development of Microbiome-Related Biomarkers
  • Examining the emerging research into associations between the human microbiome and disease
  • Understanding how individual host-microbiome associations can be integrated with other “omics” data to develop precision medicine approaches
Q & A Discussion
Networking Lunch
WELCOME BACK - The afternoon session will continue in 2 tracks. Delegates are again invited to choose which of the tracks they would like to attend
Harnessing the Potential of E-Health & Digital Technologies to Advance Precision Medicine

New digital and machine-based technologies have the capability to revolutionise healthcare and drive precision medicine forward through more efficient patient-monitoring, real-time diagnoses, faster drug development, and more. This session will look at the application of new health-tech and digital developments; the benefits they are realising and the challenges to their further adoption.

Successfully Integrating E-Health Technology into Clinical Practice to Enable Real-Time, Personalised Diagnosis
  • Exploring the latest innovations in mobile, smart, cloud and self-diagnostic technologies for obtaining patient data and insights
  • Assessing the implications for healthcare systems of patient self-management technologies and increased patient empowerment
  • Examining what tools are needed to effectively integrate e-health into clinical practice:
    • creating an effective decision support framework
    • identifying the key challenges to adoption and how to overcome them
    • educating patients and clinics as to the potential benefits
Harnessing the Potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Developing Precision Medicine
Exploring how AI and machine learning can facilitate the development of complex, digital biomarkers for the objective assessment of disease progression and to overcome traditional bottlenecks in new drug discovery
Examining Machine Learned Prediction of Treatment Benefit in Cancer
This presentation will discuss our work on gene expression classifiers. Firstly, addressing the challenge of ensuring classifiers are amenable to interpretation to obtain insight into biological processes that play a role in cancer initiation and progression. Secondly, exploring how one can obtain classifiers that predict treatment benefit to enable precision medicine.

 Jeroen de Ridder, Principal Investigator & Associate Professor,Center for Molecular Medicine, UMC Utrecht

Q & A
Afternoon Refreshments & Networking
Advancing Precision Medicine Through Multi-Omics Strategies

Genomics studies still contribute the vast majority of precision medicine-based data. However, it is now recognised that this is not enough, and so a new generation of -omics technologies is allowing assessment of the whole body-narrative. Taking a systems medicine approach and examining multiple -omics, using information from the genome, proteome, metabolome and transcriptome to identify critical drivers and pathways of disease, and the uniqueness of each human being, will be increasingly used to develop personalised medicine strategies.
Proteomics: Towards Personalized Proteome Profiling

 Prof Dr Albert Heck, Professor of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, Utrecht University

Metabolomics: Developing Strategies for Metabolomics-Driven Systems Biology to Enable Personalised Medicine

 Prof Dr Thomas Hankemeier, Principal Investigator, Analytical BioSciences & Metabolomics  & Chair, Systems Biomedicine and Pharmacology Division, Netherlands Metabolomics Centre, Leiden University

Exploring the Role of Epigenomics in Diseases

Since chemical modifications of DNA or histones are reversible processes, there is potentially a huge benefit in modulating such modifications for the treatment of human cancers using pharmacological drugs. To achieve such anti-cancer therapy, it is essential to decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying epigenetic and epigenomic perturbations in tumours. We will present our recent efforts, to better understand and map epigenetic alterations in cancers, including DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation.

We will also discuss about our very recent work on an emerging realm of biological regulation, termed RNA epigenetics. We will present our ongoing attempts to decipher the roles of RNA modifications in cancer.

 Prof François Fuks, Director, Laboratory of Cancer Epigenetics & ULB-Cancer Research Center (U-CRC), ULB - University of Brussels

Q & A
Afternoon Refreshments & Networking
A final plenary session will conclude the afternoon
Achieving the Effective Implementation of Precision Medicine into Clinical Practice

Translating Biological Research & Big Data into Actionable Insights for Use in Clinics
  • Exploring how the journey from research to implementation could be accelerated
  • Integrating technology with existing healthcare databases to give better patient knowledge and insight
  • Getting big data into clinical decision support frameworks: how can the flow of health data be facilitated?
  • Exploring how broad genomic profiling can be turned into valuable information that can be used quickly and easily for patients’ benefit in clinics

 Prof Dr Harald Schmidt, Professor & Head of Department of Pharmacology & Personalised Medicine, Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Science, Maastricht University

Managing the Implications of Precision Medicine Advancement for Healthcare Systems
  • Examining the impact on the healthcare professional (HCP) and their role:
    • how do HCPs need to adapt to deliver the healthcare of the future?
    • effectively managing increasing patient empowerment
  • Communicating and convincing HCPs of the validity and potential of new personalised treatments and therapies
  • Assessing the infrastructure, data and technology changes required to current healthcare systems in order to deliver a precision medicine approach
  • Developing and implementing precision medicine training programmes for healthcare professionals

 Prof Dr Frank E. Rademakers, Chief Medical Technology Officer, University Hospitals Leuven

 Dr Tessel Rigter, RIVM - National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Center for Health Protection & Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Clinical Genetics, Section Community Genetics, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute

Q & A Discussion
Closing Remarks from the Chair & Close of Conference

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