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A detailed roadmap for earlier detection and more effective treatment of diseases

Women Lead

Hundreds of innovators, research pioneers, clinicians, industry leaders and policy makers from all around Europe are united by a vision of how to revolutionize healthcare. In two publications – a perspective article in the journal Nature and the LifeTime Strategic Research Agenda – they now present a detailed roadmap of how to leverage the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies over the next decade, to track, understand and treat human cells throughout an individual’s lifetime.

The LifeTime initiative has developed a strategy to advance personalised treatment for five major disease classes: cancer, neurological-, infectious-, chronic inflammatory- and cardiovascular diseases. The aim is a new age of personalised, cell-based interceptive medicine for Europe with the potential of improved health outcomes and more cost-effective treatment, with a big impact on a person’s healthcare experience.

When deviating from healthy course, cells accumulate changes leading to diseases that often remain undetected until symptoms appear. At this point, medical treatment is often invasive, expensive and inefficient. Currently, there are technologies to capture the molecular makeup of individual cells and to detect the emergence of disease or therapy resistance much earlier. Breakthrough single-cell and imaging technologies in combination with artificial intelligence and personalized disease models allow to not only predict disease onset earlier, but also to select the most effective therapies for individual patients. Targeting disease-causing cells to intercept disorders before irreparable damage occurs will substantially improve the outlook for many patients and has the potential of saving billions of Euros of disease-related costs in Europe.

The perspective article “LifeTime and improving European healthcare through cell-based interceptive medicine” and the LifeTime Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) explain how these technologies should be rapidly co-developed, transitioned into clinical settings and applied to the five major disease areas. Close interactions between European infrastructures, research institutions, hospitals and industry will be essential to generate, share and analyze LifeTime’s big medical data across European borders. The initiative’s vision advocates ethically responsible research to benefit citizens all across Europe.

According to Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky, scientific director of the Berlin Institute for Medical System Biology at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine and coordinator of the LifeTime Initiative, the LifeTime approach is the way into the future:

LifeTime unites experts from various fields to advance our understanding of health and disease through cell-based medicine, promising earlier diagnoses and preventative treatments to enhance European patient health.”

Dr. Geneviève Almouzni, Director of research at CNRS, honorary director of the research center from Institut Curie in Paris and co-coordinator of the LifeTime Initiative believes that the future with LifeTime offers major social and economic impact:

“Adopting interceptive, cell-based medicine can transform treatment for numerous diseases, extending healthier lives worldwide. The potential economic savings are vast, from enhancing productivity to reducing ICU stays for conditions like cancer and Covid-19. Investing in this research now is crucial.”

Photo by Jamie Templeton on Unsplash.

Disclaimer: This story was originally developed as part of the FETFX project, the predecessor of our current initiative.

18 Sep 2020