Latvia is lagging far behind other European Union (EU) countries in patient support. Collaboration between doctors, scientists, hospital administrators and public administration is needed to ensure increasingly effective and scientifically sound treatments and to enable data-driven decision-making.
On 12-13 October 2023, Riga will host the international Precision Medicine Networking Forum (PMNET Forum), which will bring together more than 50 experts from different countries who are world leaders in precision medicine, and is unprecedented for a forum of this scale.
Precision medicine combines the disciplines of medicine, IT and data analytics and has the potential to significantly improve the treatment process through personalisation, a new approach to disease treatment and prevention that takes into account the genetic diversity, environment and lifestyle of each individual. Public participation in the research process is also invaluable for a successful outcome, hence the ongoing work on the regulation of the secondary use of data, as well as on solutions for easy provision of data use authorisations is important.
"Latvia has all the necessary prerequisites to develop precision medicine on a global scale - we have strong companies with world-class products and developments, scientific excellence, experts and infrastructure, and the support of global players such as Roche, Microsoft and Google. By combining human knowledge and skills with technology capabilities and the environment, we are becoming world-class problem solvers." says Raimonds Lapiņš, Deputy State Secretary at the Ministry of Economics. He also points to unique digital solutions for lung cancer treatment with a huge potential to attract international scientific audiences.
Experts are expected to come from the USA, including Harvard University, Israel, the Baltic States, Western Europe and Scandinavia to build and develop biomedical collaborations in precision medicine.
During the forum, leading experts, together with Latvian experts and representatives of patient organisations, will discuss current opportunities in cancer genetics and precision oncology, functional precision medicine, pharmacogenetics, artificial intelligence and big data in precision medicine. The integration of biomedical strategy in precision medicine, the improvement of diagnostics, the supply of specialists in medicine in Latvia, and other issues and challenges in the latest possibilities and needs of modern medicine will also be discussed.
In Latvia, cancer gene mutations have been comprehensively detected since 2021, and treatment according to international guidelines is expected soon for certain diagnoses. Currently, breast cancer patients in Latvia are provided with the best drugs included in the international treatment guidelines, but for lung cancer patients it is important to use broad-spectrum mutation detection, as lung cancer already has several treatable cancer gene mutations. One of the objectives of the PMNET Forum in oncology is to identify which diagnostic methods to use for early diagnosis.
It is crucial to change the perception of oncology treatments, which already work at the molecular level and not at the organ level, through this forum. This requires adequate human resources and educational programmes to bring Latvia into line with other countries around the world, including molecular consiliums that are able to assess and prescribe the most effective, appropriate therapy for the patient, in accordance with the guidelines of precision medicine.
In order to prescribe new and advanced therapies for patients, we need specialists with the knowledge to form a molecular tumour board. For example, molecular pathologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians who study mutations in cancer genes, as well as mutations that determine the expected effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a drug.
The two days of the PMNET Forum will include in-depth international discussions aimed at developing international cooperation in the biomedical field, which will also contribute to Latvia's growth, positioning Latvia as a country with a mission and a place to develop solutions to global challenges.
"In my experience, I believe that with comprehensive profiling of different types of tumours, we have the opportunity to identify all possible therapeutic treatments for cancer patients. I believe that cancer patients should have access to all treatment options, regardless of where in the EU a patient lives, and policy makers should support a seamless diagnostic pathway from molecular pathology, comprehensive panel tests to molecular tumour board, so that oncology patients can receive the best medical advice." says Martin Zoche, Head of the Molecular Tumour Genome Profiling Group at the Department of Pathology and Molecular Pathology, University Hospital Zurich.
The aim of the Forum is to improve the care and outcomes of oncology patients by promoting the development and translation of precision medicine into clinical practice. The first objective of the Forum is to achieve more effective, science-based treatments for children and adults and to ensure access to health services using the latest medical technologies; the second objective is to raise awareness of the need for more financial resources for medical science, as progress is impossible without investment in research and clinical care, which together guarantee improved quality of care for patients and actually extend survival and maximise patient benefits from financial and resource investments.
This requires collaboration between doctors, scientists, hospital administrators, patient organisations, health authorities, government officials, health companies, global corporations and the world's leading hospitals.
The Forum is organised by Riga Stradins University, Children's Hospital Foundation, Latvian Children's Oncology Foundation, Children's Clinical University Hospital, Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Health.
The partners of the Forum are Riga East Clinical University Hospital, Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Latvian Association of Oncologists and Chemotherapists and Latvian Oncologists Association, University of Latvia and Riga Technical University.
The Forum is supported by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, Roche Latvia, Novartis, EUSA Pharma and Illumina.
Health experts and those interested in precision medicine are invited to register for free at https://pmnetforum.com/registration/ .
For more information about the Forum programme and speakers, please visit: www.pmnetforum.com
The publication is implemented in cooperation with Latvian Investment and Development Agency the European Regional Development Fund project 220.127.116.11. "Support for the improvement of the technology transfer system" (project identification number 18.104.22.168/16/I/001), implementing ERDF 1.2.1. of the specific support objective "Increase private sector investments in R&D".
Informācijas devējs Roche Latvija SIA, Miera iela 25, Rīga, LV - 1001. Tālr. 67039831. M-LV-00000871, pēdējo reizi atjaunots 2023. gada decembrī