This year promises to be an even bigger one than usual for the Brussels-based European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) with not one, but two major events taking place during 2017.
The Alliance’s fifth annual conference will be held at the prestigious Bibliothèque Solvay, close to the European Parliament in Brussels, next week, Tuesday, 28 March, and is entitled ‘Innovation, Guidelines and Screening: The Case of Lung Cancer’.
And, later in the year (27-30 November), EAPM will host the first ever pan-European, multidisciplinary Congress specific to the fast-moving field of personalised medicine.
Entitled ‘Personalising Your Health: A Global Imperative!’, it will be held in the capital of Northern Ireland in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and Visit Belfast.
The over-arching idea for the Northern Ireland event is that it will act as a one-stop shop for everything connected with personalised medicine, and will also take on board conclusions emerging from this month’s conference in Belgium’s capital.
The latter will, as its title suggests, take a close look at lung-cancer screening, yet its general subject matter will be much broader than that, focussing on many of the issues that affect personalised medicine today.
EAPM Executive Director Denis Horgan said this week: “This conference will be interactive and innovative. In these fast-changing times in the world of medicine, with all the incredible new science, we need a clear voice from the health and research community to shake-up the area and get all other aspects – such as regulation, co-operation and integration into healthcare systems – moving at a faster pace to keep up with the technology.”
Horgan added: “The main thrust of the meeting will not be about just one disease, but more the issues surrounding governance – whether EU-wide, national or regional – discussed by experts and all stakeholder groups.”
These groups will be examining the need for more recommendations and guidelines on health and preventative measures across the EU. In that respect, the conference will focus on a broad range of issues and diseases, albeit with lung cancer at the centre (as it is the biggest killer of all cancers).
EAPM and its many stakeholders believe that without screening and early detection of lung cancer (and other diseases), much of the incredible medical science being developed will struggle to fulfil all of its potential when it comes to saving lives and improving the quality of lives.
In a ‘post-truth’, ‘fake news’, ‘alternative facts’ world, there will be no such distractions at the conference, which will concentrate on high-level discussions between experts with the goal of reaching consensus on eventual conclusions.
This will allow the conference to plan the way forward for the benefit of 500 million potential patients across the EU’s current 28 member states.
Among the key points to be covered at the conference will be:
- Raising awareness of the need for agreed guidelines over lung-cancer screening (and those affecting other diseases).
- Improving the knowledge of policymakers and world health agencies in order that up-to-date and effective lung-cancer screening guidelines and policies can be formulated on the international stage.
- Examining the need to work across international borders to ensure cooperation, collaboration and the elimination of ‘silo thinking’ in respect of such guidelines in this fast-developing field.
- Advancing parallel work done by professional groups, patient groups, healthcare funders, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to a new level for the benefit of Europe’s patients, today and down the line.
By the time of the Belfast Congress, most other major medical conferences (including EAPM’s, of course) will already have taken place in Europe. Therefore the Alliance event will allow delegates to hear about any and all of the major scientific developments that are taking place in 2017 in different disease areas.
It will also allow for cross-fertilization between the different disease and policy areas, encourage delegates to gain a greater depth of knowledge into barriers in the field of personalised medicine, and offer up valuable evidence and stakeholder opinion on which policymakers can base their decision making on how better to integrate personalised medicine into the EU’s health-care services.
Essentially, the Belfast event will provide the biggest ‘space’ to date to allow for such a meeting of minds and expertise in this area of modern medicine.