Published: 21-11-2018 07:30 | Updated: 20-06-2019 10:40

Genomic Medicine Sweden receives SEK 43,8 million from Vinnova

Published November 21, 2018

Genomic Medicine Sweden aims to strengthen precision medicine throughout Sweden. With a two-year grant from Vinnova, the work now starts to advance and implement the new genomics broadly in healthcare so that patients will receive access to new diagnostics and treatment.

Region Skåne is the host for the national initiative and Professor Richard Rosenquist Brandell, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet is the project manager.

Genomic Medicine Sweden, GMS, is carried out as a collaborative project between different societal stakeholder; healthcare, universities with medical faculty, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), industry and patient organizations. The GMS project does also have a close collaboration with Biobank Sweden, with which it shares the steering group, and with other national initiatives. Sweden's seven university county councils/regions in collaboration with the universities with medical faculty forms the 14 formal partners of the project.

Patient benefit

During the implementation phase, 2019-2020, the focus will be on the areas of diagnostics that today have strong evidence for genomic testing, that is rare inherited diseases, cancer (hematology and solid tumors) and infectious diseases. A specific effort will also be put on childhood cancer together with the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund.

Long term GMS will also be extended to include complex diseases, so called noncommunicable diseases (e.g. cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, autoimmune and psychiatric diseases).

The implementation of large-scale sequencing techniques and genomics in healthcare will result in improved healthcare. Furthermore, the project is also aiming to strengthen Swedish research in the area. GMS will offer a unique research resource for Sweden to identifying disease-causing events that could pave the way for new drug development and dynamic treatment regimes, and enhanced collaboration with industry.

”With this initiative we want to introduce the new sequencing techniques in healthcare all over the country. With these technologies we can make considerable improvements in diagnostics, and also individualized follow-up and care for each. GMS will already from the start deliver diagnostics for patients with rare diseases and cancer. I parallel we are building a unique resource that can be used for research and innovation”, says project manager Richard Rosenquist Brandell, Professor of Clinical Genetics at Karolinska Institutet and Chief physician at Karolinska University Hospital.

GMS started as an initiative from SciLifeLab's national diagnostics platform (Diagnostics Development platform) during 2017. During the initial phase of the project, supported by Swelife and Vinnova, the national organization and management of the project has been developed in collaboration with the healthcare and universities. With increased support from Vinnova (SEK 38,8 million and the same amount in co-financing from the county councils/regions and universities, total SEK 84,2 million), the project now enters a new phase. Centre for genomic medicine will be established at the university hospitals in Lund, Gothenburg, Linköping, Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala and Umeå. These centers will be central in the organisation to gather expertise and coordinate diagnosis- and treatment areas nationally. A particular focus will be on building a joint informatics infrastructure for healthcare to solve the challenges, such as data sharing, data interpretation and secure storage.