Clinical Trials Day 20 May: Precision medicine – the future of clinical trials is already here.

Modern cancer treatment is about adapting treatment to each individual's unique circumstances. This is called precision medicine and is based on genetic markers that predict which treatment will work for a particular patient. With great precision, practitioners can then use medicines tailored to the right patient at the right time. Here is Jan-Olov Sandberg, Medical Director at Roche, in an interview on the future of clinical trials.

– There is a strong consensus on precision medicine, which is reflected in the national life science strategy. But more needs to be done to reach the full potential, including making it possible to share patient data between regions,” says Jan-Olov Sandberg, Medical Director at Roche.

– We have a relatively high degree of maturity in Sweden when it comes to doing high molecular diagnostics in cancer. What we would like is to be able to monitor the outcome of treatments and follow it up through our various cancer registries. It is a desirable situation that has not yet been realized. There are examples of large projects involving very many patients where blood and tissue have been collected to sequence a molecular biological profile. If that data can be used in the right way, it can offer great opportunities. We have a unique opportunity in Sweden through our registers, even if they are not complete,” says Jan-Olov Sandberg.

Clinical trials play a crucial role in the development of precision medicine. A concrete example is the MEGALiT study at Uppsala University Hospital in Region Uppsala, where Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg is also participating. It is a clinical study but also an example of collaboration between healthcare, academia and industry. MEGALiT’s ambition is to serve as the national test bed and arena for system innovation in precision medicine drug therapy for cancer. There is a broad range of development work, such as efficient data collection and sample management, development of processes and efficient workflows, tools and guidelines.

– Sweden needs to do more to be at the forefront of precision medicine. The Netherlands is an interesting example of progress that we can learn from. In Norway and Denmark, we are seeing studies similar to MEGALiT. Nordic cooperation is important, says Jan-Olov Sandberg.

The campaign page for more clinical trials in Sweden