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University of Twente enters into a 1,7 million Euro collaboration on health economics of personalized medicine and molecular diagnostics

The HTSR research group of the research institute MIRA (University of Twente), the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the University of York have just signed an international research collaboration investigating the clinical and economic challenges of personalized medicine. Personalized or precision medicine is the paradigm of targeting treatment to those that are likely to benefit from treatment and is a respons to the largely one size-fits all treatment approaches dominating medicine until now. The main clinical application of personalized medicine is oncology, followed by diabetes, cardio-vascular and rheumatic diseases. The 1,7 MEuro budget for four years should leverage external funding to strenghten capacity building in the field of personalized medicine in Luxembourg. The agreement includes recruitment of PhD’s, post-docs, and involves several staff in Luxembourg, York and Twente says Prof. IJzerman who is the principal investigator in Twente.   

Global Initiative for Translational Health Economics

The three groups signing the collaboration, also participate in a global consortium on personalized medicine and health economics reaching out to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle (USA), the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI) and the University of Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT) in Austria. The consortium –known as the Global Initiative for Translational Health Economics – organizes their fourth annual meeting in Vienna next September, 30th  (www.githe.eu).  

Personalized medicine and systems engineering

The HTSR research program aims to build capacity in health economics through the development of a specific program in translational research encompassing early modeling and economic evaluation of technologies for molecular diagnostics. A range of different diagnostics is included, such as in-vitro laboratory diagnostics, blood based markers like Circulating Tumor Cells and cell-free DNA, molecular markers in urine and other body fluids and eventually Whole-Genome Sequencing. The advantages of using such markers is that expensive drug treatment can be limited to those patients that will respond to treatment, thus improving patient outcomes at lower drug adverse event-rates and cost to the health system. The unique contribution of HTSR is the analysis of health systems consequences regarding access to and quality of health services, and models for elicitation patient preferences for treatment decisions. The latter is now extended to a collaboration with the computer science department FMT within CTIT, modelling physician decisions regarding therapy switching in metastatic prostate cancer using response markers. 

More information: Prof. Maarten IJzerman, HTSR, 053-4893684  

Martine van Hillegersberg
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