News, Announcements & Press Releases

10. December 2012 10:30

Leading Experts Urge Europe To Implement Personalised Medicine In Healthcare

New report by the European Science Foundation’s (ESF) membership organisation, the European Medical Research Councils (MED (formerly EMRC)), sets out key recommendations for the introduction and implementation of personalised medicine.

Strasbourg, France, 10 December, 2012: Dedicated funding and support is required to ensure personalised medicine can be implemented across Europe’s healthcare systems, according to a new report issued by the European Science Foundation’s (ESF) membership organisation for all medical research councils in Europe, the European Medical Research Councils (MED (formerly EMRC)).

The report entitled Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen, brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines to identify the most pressing issues affecting the development and implementation of personalised medicine across Europe. Key stakeholders, from patient groups to regulators to industry and academia were consulted through a series of meetings designed to facilitate the discussion on the key issues.

Personalised medicine, a strategy based on individual phenotyping of profiles rather than the long established ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach identifies elements that predict the individuals’ response to treatment and their predisposition to disease. This healthcare model places heavy emphasis on the maintenance and investment of these cohorts providing a healthcare system with a modern, prospective approach; an essential strategy for the analysis and understanding of disease over time in well characterised populations. 

Professor Stephen Holgate, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton and a leading expert in the consultation commented: “Personalised medicine has become increasingly important in the future of healthcare. By targeting patients with specific treatment programmes tailored to the individuals needs.”

Alongside Professor Holgate, the science committee responsible for compiling this report included: Professor Aarno Palotie, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, Finland; Professor Barbara Prainsack, Centre for Biomedicine & Society, Brunel University, United Kingdom;  Professor Angela Brand, Institute for Public Health Genomics, Maastricht University, The Netherlands; and Professor Hans Lehrach, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Germany.

The report outlined a series of recommendations under four core headings:

1.   Data handling

Comprehensive, accessible and interoperable datasets must be generated to support the development of a new disease taxonomy and allow for its ongoing refinement and application.

2.   Models and decision-making processes

Models and decision-making processes must be revised to reflect a focus on the individual. This should happen at all levels, from assessment of the safety and efficacy of interventions, through HTA and reimbursement, to diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

3.   Interdisciplinarity, participation and translational research

Emphasis must be placed on stakeholder participation, interdisciplinary interaction, public-private and precompetitive partnerships, and translational research in order to develop the frameworks that support the vision of personalised medicine and healthcare.

4.   Infrastructure and resources

Dedicated funding and governmental support must be provided to ensure the availability of core infrastructure, including access to core technology and frameworks for education and training of professionals and the wider community.

Professor Liselotte Højgaard, the Chair of the European Medical Research l Councils (MED (formerly EMRC)): “We hope that the recommendations in our report will now be taken up by stakeholders throughout Europe to ensure the successful introduction and sustainable implementation of personalised medicine.”

These recommendations are outlined in the newly published Forward Look entitled: Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen. Download the full report at the bottom of this page.

Notes to Editors
For a copy of the report, to request interviews or more information please contact:
Emma Knott      
Tel +44(0)20 3176 4715


The European Science Foundation (ESF) is an independent, non-governmental organisation that promotes cross-border collaboration in scientific research, research funding and science policy across Europe. The European Medical Research Councils (MED (formerly EMRC)) was  the membership organisation under the ESF of 37 medical research councils in 30 European countries. Its mission has been to promote innovative medical research and its clinical application towards improved human health.