In the first in a series of blogs for Precision Medicine Forum, Niels Westergaard (pictured) PhD and DSc, Biopeople and the University of Copenhagen, discusses how the identification and validation of biomarkers in Denmark is a key part of the country’s plan to development its precision medicine programme.
A new era
A one-size-fits-all approach to the treatment and care of patients with a particular condition has come to an end and is being replaced by the new era of personalised medicine.
The concept of personalised medicine is not new. Scientific developments over the last decades in science and technology now make it possible to stratify patients to more targeted treatments based on their personal preferences and genetic make-up.
However, for personalised medicine to be successful, the use of highly specific and validated biomarkers and the development of diagnostic tests are essential. Regrettably, such biomarkers are rare despite a large numbers of new biomarker candidates being reported in scientific journals. This shows there is an innovation gap between the transition of biomarkers from research to clinical practice.
One of the key obstacles is the low reproducibility rates in pre-clinical research data. The prevalence of this type of irreproducible data has been reported to be as high as 50 per cent. There are many reasons for this but ultimately new steps need to be taken in order to improve the quality of the data.
Like other European countries Denmark has a national strategy for personalised medicine. This strategy was launched in 2017 and is very much focused on genomic data. In addition to this and in support of a sustainable Danish biomarker infrastructure model that will bridge biomarker research and development and produce biomarker validation seems obviously to be needed as well.
Funded by The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the project Biomarkers as an emerging growth area in Denmark has been established. The project is a collaboration between the areas of ICT and research and clinical development that will focus on patient centricity. The aim is to strengthen validated biomarkers in precision medicine and to investigate how to build a Danish bio-marker infrastructure model that will support biomarker innovation in Denmark..
Kim Holmstrøm, Research and Development Manager at Bioneer A/S will be speaking further on this subject as part of the Nordic Precision Medicine Forum in March. You can register for the event here.