The working group Individualised Medicine - formerly entitled Personalised Medicine - has examined this new field from a comprehensive perspective. Based on the results of a status workshop held in November 2011, it has prepared a statement that outlines various aspects of the field including the technological foundations, the applicability of personalisation strategies in clinical practice, the structural preconditions, the likely impact on compensation systems, as well as the many ethical, legal, and economic issues involved.
Even though more and more people today are aging in good health, current demographic developments are inevitably also leading to a rise in age-related (multiple) diseases. However, while rapid advances made in medicine and technology in recent years, primarily in sequencing the human genome, have yielded many new, increasingly complex and more effective methods of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease, these are frequently also more expensive. And for all the progress that has been made, many diagnostic and therapeutic methods still have considerable unwanted or even harmful effects. This leads to heavy burdens on the health care systems in Germany and worldwide.
One strategy for future health care currently being discussed all over the world is individualised (or “tailored”) medicine. Using state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and therapies specifically tailored to individual patients it aims to provide more effective treatments and either reduce unwanted side effects or eliminate them altogether – which will ultimately also result in lower costs. Individualised medicine promises to open up many exciting new possibilities – but it is also a subject of great controversy.
ML = Member of the Leopoldina
Committee on Health
alpha-Academy – Wissenschaft und Forschung im Gespräch: Personalisierte Medizin. Broadcast of ORF in BR-alpha, 13.02.2012 (German)