15th August 2019
Better health for European citizens with better use of Scandinavian biobanks and data registries
In its efforts to accelerate the implementation of healthcare innovations, EIT Health has set up a series of Think Tank Round Tables on the topic of Big Data, to frame and address needs through its unique innovation platform. The third Think Tank Series took place in Stockholm on 13 August and brought together Scandinavian stakeholders with the aim of coming up with concrete and actionable ideas on how to improve healthcare by using existing biobanks, registries and data in Scandinavia and in Europe.
Participants included Scandinavian representatives from biobanks and data registries, healthcare providers and payers, experts in health data and samples management, policy makers, industry players, research institutions and universities.
To serve as an inspirational kick-off of afternoon discussions of the Round Table groups, the day started with an open session where positive cases of development projects, such as 4D and SymBIOs, were showcased by the need and project owners Jan P. Andersson and Andreas Scheutz, both innovation directors at Stockholm County Council and Uppsala Region, respectively.
The barriers and ongoing initiatives to make better and faster use of biobanks and registries in Denmark, Estonia and Sweden were also touched upon. Søren Brunak, professor at both the University of Copenhagen and Technical University of Denmark and research director at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (University of Copenhagen) described how the National Genome Centre for Precision Medicine, an agency under the Danish Health Ministry was established thanks to a legal bill that just recently passed.
Sonja Eaker Fält, Chair of Biobank Sweden highlighted the opportunities, challenges and collaborative efforts in coordinating biobanks on a national level, and finally Lili Milani, head of Personalised Medicine at the Estonian Genome Centre (University of Tartu), presented how, thanks to genetic data, individuals are provided with personalised health risk reviews and advice to change their lifestyles.
During the afternoon, the Round Table stakeholders discussed what should be the first steps for potential solutions to use and access biobanks and data registries to accelerate and enable the development of new treatments, disease prevention and earlier diagnostics; among them the speed of access to data, the communication of the value of data to the greater public and the one-stop-shop for both research and industry purposes were actively discussed.
The outcomes of the EIT Health Think Tank Round Table Series will be brought together in a report to be published this fall and will lay the grounds for future EIT Health calls, programmes and initiatives that will support the development of innovative solutions in this field, ultimately aiming to improve healthcare for the benefit of European citizens and patients.
“EIT Health can support the translation of ideas into tangible products and services used by citizens and patients” said Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of EIT Health when opening the Scandinavian Think Tank.
As a first step, EIT Health has already allocated € 300 000 as “seed money” for 2019 to the RABBIT programme (Registers And BioBanks In Transition), an initiative of the Scandinavian EIT Health regional innovation hub. The aim is to accelerate the implementation of innovations by enabling better use of biobanks and registries for industry, academia and healthcare, and leveraging the Scandinavian assets in this field and pioneering for future scale-ups in European levels through the EIT Health pan-European network.
Click here to learn more about the EIT Health Think Tank.