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π Health and biotech

Personalised medicine: custom healthcare on a national scale?

6 episodes
  • 1
    Personalised medicine: a treatment for each patient
  • 2
    Target tumours, improve survival
  • 3
    “Let's personalise healthcare pathways, too”
  • 4
    Digital avatars of patients' lungs
  • 5
    Will personalised medicine create problems for the economy?
  • 6
    Maths and medicine, improving clinical studies
Épisode 1/6
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 2nd, 2021
3 mins reading time

Pascal Pujol
Pascal Pujol
Medical geneticist at the University hospital of Montpellier

Key takeaways

  • Customised healthcare, also called “personalised medicine”, has already become a part of medical practice.
  • Compared to generalised treatment, medication targeting specific cancer mutations has improved patient survival; as much as 40% in the case of the BRCA1 gene.
  • In the future, doctors could use genomic data to evaluate a patient’s risk of developing certain diseases.
  • Currently, around a hundred mutated genes can lead a doctor to suggest a new treatment or preventive measures.
  • According to Pascal Pujol, more digital tools are needed to aid decisions around therapeutic options for patients using their genetic data.
Épisode 2/6
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 2nd, 2021
3 mins reading time

Alexis Gautreau
Alexis Gautreau
CNRS research director in biology at the Laboratory of Structural Biology of the Cell (BIOC*) at the Ecole Polytechnique (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • Oncology was the first medical field to start using personalised medicine.
  • Whilst spectacular results have shown increased survival rates for cancer patients, there are certain limits to these techniques such as development of tumour resistance to treatments.
  • Now, 20 years on, this innovative approach has delivered on its promises, but it has also raised new issues that biomedical research is yet to resolve.
Épisode 3/6
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 2nd, 2021
3 mins reading time

Etienne Minvielle
Etienne Minvielle
CNRS Research Director at the Centre for Management Research of the Interdisciplinary Institute of Innovation (I³-CRG*)

Key takeaways

  • Personalised medicine doesn’t just involve treatments, it could also incorporate the entire healthcare setting and patient experience.
  • Étienne Minvielle explains that better patient care means extra-medical assistance must also be personalised.
  • Patients have different needs, desires, personalities, and lifestyles. Taking these differences into account could improve treatment outcomes.
  • Personalised healthcare pathways could be developed with the aid of digital tools, similar to those used in e-commerce.
  • The title of this Braincamp is inspired by Étienne Minvielle's thesis at École polytechnique: "Managing singularity on a large scale".
Épisode 4/6
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 2nd, 2021
3 mins reading time

Cécile Patte
Cécile Patte
Inria engineer in biomechanics, Jeunes Talents France 2020 prize "For women and science" (Unesco-L'Oréal)

Key takeaways

  • To improve treatments, engineers are seeking ways to adapt medical interventions to suit the specific biomechanics of each patient.
  • In order to avoid invasive testing, the MΞDISIM team develops ways to generate digital models of patients’ organs.
  • Cécile Patte is working on a tool to create digital avatars of the lungs of patients suffering from pulmonary fibrosis – a chronic lung disease and one of the long-term effects of Covid-19.
  • These digital replicas will enable doctors to evaluate personalised treatments non-invasively.
Épisode 5/6
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 2nd, 2021
4 mins reading time

Aurore Pélissier
Aurore Pélissier
Lecturer in economic science at the University of Bourgogne

Key takeaways

  • Personalised medicine produces a lot of data, some of which is not directly connected to the original intended analysis and can even include data relating to the patient’s family.
  • This raises questions on how to communicate this information and its value for the doctor, the patient, and society at large.
  • It is also very difficult to accurately assess all the cost vs. benefits of personalised healthcare.
  • Lastly, this new health model involves ethical considerations, to ensure that access to these new treatments is equitable.
Épisode 6/6
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 2nd, 2021
3 mins reading time

Marc Lavielle
Marc Lavielle
Director of Research in Statistics at Inria and Professor at the Centre for Applied Mathematics (CMAP*) at the École Polytechnique (IP Paris)
Jonathan Chauvin
Jonathan Chauvin
CEO at Lixoft

Key takeaways

  • Personalised medicine produces a lot of data, some of which is not directly connected to the original intended analysis and can even include data relating to the patient’s family.
  • This raises questions on how to communicate this information and its value for the doctor, the patient, and society at large.
  • It is also very difficult to accurately assess all the cost vs. benefits of personalised healthcare.
  • Lastly, this new health model involves ethical considerations, to ensure that access to these new treatments is equitable.

Contributors

Agnès Vernet
Agnès Vernet
Science journalist

After her initial studies in molecular biology, Agnès Vernet trained as a science journalist at ESJ-Lille. For the past 14 years, she has been writing for various media, scientific magazines, professional titles and general press, in France and Switzerland. Since 1st February 2021, she is the elected President of the French association of science journalists (AJSPI).