Report, produced in partnership with the Economic Intelligence Unit, highlights how PM can move from research to clinical practice
Healthcare professionals from different countries participated in a panel discussion titled Precision Medicine – One size doesn’t fit all, held as part of the fully virtual 2020 World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), a component of Qatar Foundation’s mission to foster evidence-based ideas and practices in healthcare.
Precision medicine (PM) holds the promise of allowing us the ability to understand, in ever finer detail, the biological makeup of individual humans which can allow us to determine what diseases they might be genetically disposed to, the peculiarities of any given pathogen or tumor affecting a specific patient, and how they are likely to respond to a specific treatment.
The panel discussion was also accompanied by the launch of a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), titled Doing Well? Fulfilling the Promise of Precision Medicine. The report, sponsored by Qatar Foundation, discusses the promise of precision medicine, what it is currently delivering, and challenges associated with its wider application in large health systems. To download a copy of the EIU report, visit: Precision Medicine Report.
Our focus with the study was really looking at that long talked about promise of better, more targeted care for patients on ongoing basis
The report notes that precision medicine, while still work-in-progress, has shown promising potential, particularly in areas like oncology and rare diseases. It has allowed better understanding of tumor genetics resulting in more effective treatments – particularly for lung and breast cancer. For rare diseases, genomic sequencing has drastically reducing diagnosis times from years to a matter of months, sometimes even weeks.
Commenting on the report, David Humphreys, Global Head of Health Policy for The Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “Our focus with the study was really looking at that long talked about promise of better, more targeted care for patients and ongoing basis. It really focused on two critical aspects that we consider to be important. The first is integration into the patient centricity movement, and the second is the concept of return on investment and value demonstration. Much has been said about precision medicine generating savings, and there is also evidence.”
What we see is to provide pragmatic and practical key recommendations that are not only applicable to Qatar, but also applicable internationally
The report hints that perhaps the biggest challenge will be developing a workforce capable of delivering precision medicine, including integration of specialists – notably geneticists, genetic counsellors, and data into the existing healthcare system.
“When we look at the policy briefs we have drafted, we wanted to make sure that it addresses strategy as well as policies, and one aspect of that is to harmonize the activities among the different players. Another important aspect is the integration of precision medicine into primary healthcare. So, what we see is to provide pragmatic and practical key recommendations that are not only applicable to Qatar, but also applicable internationally,” said Dr. Walid Qoronfleh, Director of Healthcare Research and Policy at WISH.
We are now finally at the stage where we can actually harness the huge amount of data that has been produced and use it to shift gears from research to clinical implementation
The panelists consisted of Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the US National Academy of Medicine; Dr. Said Ismail, Director, Qatar Genome Programme; Dr. Walid Qoronfleh, Director of Healthcare Research and Policy at WISH; and Dr. Lotfi Chouchane, Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar. The panel discussion was moderated by David Humphreys, Global Head of Health Policy for The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Healthcare Practice.
Speaking on Qatar Genome Programme’s efforts in the past five years, Dr. Said Ismail, Director, Qatar Genome Programme said: “As is the case with any sort of learning process, the beginnings are slow and difficult. In the initial five years we spent a lot of time and effort in producing data and in making it available to researchers. We are now finally at the stage where we can actually harness the huge amount of data that has been produced and use it to shift gears from research to clinical implementation.”
Precision Medicine’s end-goal is to move away from medicine’s current one-size-fits-all approach to more personalized care that is formulated based on the person’s genetics – right care at the right time. This will help cut down diagnosis time and avoid the risks of incorrect treatment; allowing healthcare to deliver better patient outcomes improved population health.