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Swedish state extends funding of precision medicine research and application

News: Jul 02, 2020

Vinnova, the national innovation agency, is investing an additional SEK 36 million in Genomic Medicine Sweden, the ambitious national collaboration: good news for GMC (Genome Medicine Center) West and the other regional centers in the country. The aims are to assist the further rollout of precision medicine in healthcare and promote new research and innovation collaborations among academia, industry and healthcare providers.

Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) is a national initiative that, since 2018, has been researching and developing gene-sequence-based diagnostics and introducing new healthcare methods to enable more individualized care.

With genetically personalized diagnostics and treatment, more patients can receive the right diagnosis and care sooner. Implementation is underway for diagnosis of cancer and rare hereditary diseases. Several new methods are being developed to diagnose common disorders, such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.

GMS also diagnoses multiresistant bacteria and viruses, and participates in the national strategy for testing SARS-CoV-2.

Support for healthcare and research

Backing the initiative are Sweden’s faculties of medicine, jointly with seven regions, in cooperation with the business community and SciLifeLab, a national academic center in life science. Regional Genomic Medicine Centers (GMCs) have been established in the healthcare regions that are taking part. The GMCs’ function is to coordinate the introduction of newly developed healthcare methods nationwide and provide research support.

GMC West, set up in Gothenburg in 2019, is part of the program to boost collaboration between Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital on the one hand and SciLifeLab on the other, ahead of the implementation of large-scale genomics in healthcare.

Strategically important investment

“This is very good news: it shows the strength of a national initiative, and means that GMS now has a chance to give Sweden an international lead in precision medicine. The genetic work is strategically important and a priority for both the Hospital and the Academy,” says Professor Agneta Holmäng, Sahlgrenska Academy Dean.

“Our regional center, GMC West, plays an important role in this and also contributes nationally in several key ways, such as storing all genomic data, but also providing computational capacity for both healthcare and universities in Sweden.”

Vinnova, which is cofinancing the collaboration, will be contributing SEK 36 million to GMS for 2020–2021. This funding will help toward further introduction of precision medicine in healthcare and promote new research and innovation collaborations among industry, healthcare, and academia. Cofinance from the partners in the initiative totals SEK 52 million.

GMS: Genomic Medicine Sweden

Images: Stock photo from Matton Images and head shot of Agneta Holmäng (photo: Thomas Johansson)


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