What do you think of modern medicine

Paths to Modern Medicine

Where will it take us in the future when people can be treated more and more individually? Where are the opportunities, where are the limits? How can we make the best possible use of the possibilities of individualized medicine in Germany? At the invitation of the BMBF, scientists from various disciplines will discuss these questions about the realization of individualized medicine. “Modern medicine of the 21st century differs from medicine as we have known it up to now: It will be more shaped by personalized, individualized and stratified approaches. The genetic predisposition, gender, age of the person, but also lifestyle, social factors and environmental influences are becoming more and more important for diagnosis, therapy and prevention a.

Experts from various specialist areas outline various ways to individualized medicine in keynote speeches.

Professor Oliver Brüstle, Director of Reconstructive Neurobiology at the University Hospital Bonn, showed the role that stem cells play in regenerative, i.e. restorative, medicine now and in the future. "The possibility of reprogramming body cells into pluripotent stem cells opens up innovative approaches for patient-specific therapies and drug development," says Brüstle. Professor Julia Stingl, Vice President of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) described the influence pharmacogenomics has on personalized medication. Stingl: "An early and close cooperation between regulatory authorities and clinical researchers facilitates the path of innovative academic research for tailor-made medical care". Professor Petra Thürmann, director of the Philipp Klee Institute for Clinical Pharmacology at HELIOS Klinikum Wuppertal, illustrated the differences between stratified and personalized medicine. “The personalization of medicine can take place on different levels. In addition to adapting a therapy to human genetic characteristics, personalized medicine should also mean responding to patient preferences, ”added Thürmann. Finally, Professor Claudia Wiesemann, director of the Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine at the University Medical Center Göttingen, shed light on the ethical, legal and social aspects of the clinical application of stem cell therapies. "High-risk research should include patient involvement from the start," she demanded.

Individualized medicine

With the “Individualized Medicine” action plan, the BMBF has been funding a wide range of measures since 2013 to use genetic and molecular data and findings and to develop personalized treatment methods. This includes the areas of stem cell research, systems medicine, new biomarkers and immunotherapy.

In the subsequent panel discussion, the aforementioned keynote speakers and Professor Hartmut Juhl, Managing Director of Indivumed GmbH, and Professor Christof von Kalle, spokesman for the National Center for Tumor Diseases, discussed the necessary framework conditions for the development of tailor-made medicine in Germany. Mr. Juhl emphasized that it had to be a matter of "understanding the underlying disease mechanisms in detail". At the same time, he advocated creating spaces in our healthcare system for personalized paths in medicine and offering incentives for business investments. Ms. Thürmann and Ms. Stingl emphasized the need to “create more evidence for the benefits of personalized approaches”. This must be done “within the framework of the applicable regulations”. At the same time, however, they would have to keep pace with current developments in order to enable corresponding studies and evidence of benefits. Ms. Wiesemann pointed out that the "assessment of benefit, harm, burden, opportunities or risks is different", depending on which social grouping is asked. Using the example of the United Kingdom, Mr Brüstle illustrated how it can be possible to integrate personalized medicine into research and therapy in a proactive manner and with the participation of the population and the medical profession. The panelists shared the assessment that for the establishment of individualized medicine in Germany it is crucial that the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods must take place in a constant social and scientific debate.