Health is committed to promoting precision medicine as patients claim

  • Minister Carolina Darias has announced that her department is working on the 5P Plan that will expand the infrastructure for health centers in this discipline.

  • The goal is to advance a new approach in the treatment and prevention of diseases, one of the great demands of the associations.

precision medicine it has radically changed the way in which cancer patients or rare or undiagnosed diseases are investigated. A new discipline that analyzes the patient’s genetics, environment and lifestyle to select the treatment that could work best for their disease. The Ministry of Health announced this Monday that it is working on the 5P Plan – personalized medicine, predictive, preventive, participatory and population– of the National Health System, which will expand the infrastructure for Health centers. The goal: to promote a new approach in the treatment and disease preventionone of the great claims of patients.

As detailed by the head of Health, Carolina Darias, this plan will respond to the need for resources in the SNS to carry out the genetic and genomic testing, as well as the storage, processing and analysis of the data derived from these tests. The minister has referred to genetic tests as “a tool of great value” for diagnosis and prognosis of various ailments -those with the greatest impact, such as cancer or those with the worst diagnosis- and, furthermore, he highlighted that they are key to the selection and follow-up of pharmacological treatments more suitable which, in turn, confers greater security using targeted therapies.

The origin of the tumor

When it comes to cancer, until now the treatment is conditioned by the site of origin of the tumor, the histology and the stage of the disease. Thus, it is stated in a 2021 report, from the consultancy Hiris, entitled ‘Precision Oncology Situation in Spain and recommendations for a Plan for Access to Biomarkers’. The document indicates that, at present, the expression of certain genomic characteristics, called biomarkersallows you to select a different treatment for two people who have the same tumor.

On this path to promote precision medicine, last June, the Ministry of Health informed the autonomous communities and patient associations of the appointment of 14 new hospital centers to the network of advanced therapies in the National Health System. These centers, to which is added one that has only pediatric approachjoin existing ones to administer CAR-T treatments in the fight against serious diseases such as onco-hematological.

A pending subject

However, in Spain, the implementation of this precision medicine, at least in a generalized way, continues being a pending subject. This same Tuesday, thyroid cancer patients They demanded that health authorities guarantee access to innovative treatments that are being approved by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) but are not entering public funding.

But also from AECAT (Spanish Association of Thyroid Cancer), demanded access to personalized precision medicine that, in their opinion, would mean “a breakthrough in healthcare and would favor more effective and safe preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical interventions, adapted to the characteristics of each patient.

Precision medicine, patient associations defend, would avoid unnecessary expenses that would contribute to the sustainability of the health system.

This same company points to another advantage: it would avoid unnecessary expenses that would contribute to the sustainability of health systems. The most important thing, entities like this stand out, would offer the patient a personalized therapeutic alternative that avoid therapeutic failuresunnecessary side effects and reduces access time to the correct treatment.

Genetic testing in communities

Returning to the aforementioned report on precision medicine in oncology, it is specified that all the autonomous communities carry out, to a greater or lesser extent, genetic and anatomical-pathological tests that are included within this practice. But, the document clarifies, the offer of these analyzes “is very fragmented and it is the hospital services themselves that handle and manage their own service portfolios“.

Communities such as Andalusia are developing training programs aimed at public health professionals.

It is stated, for example, that the Cantabrian Health Service has incorporated precision medicine diagnostic tests into its care practice; that the Basque Country has the Euskadi Oncology Plan 2018-2023 and, among its objectives, the creation and implementation of a planning and management committee for this discipline stand out, or that Navarra has the NAGEN 1000 Project, whose objective is to use the information derived from genomic sequencing as a tool for the development of new genomic medicine in its Hospital Complex. In this community, the Navarra University Clinic is one of the Spanish centers integrated in the SEHOP-PENCIL project that seeks access to precision medicine for all pediatric oncology patients, regardless of their place of residence.

other communities, like Andalusia, are developing training programs in Personalized and Precision Medicine (PANMEP) aimed at public health professionals. They are currently doing internships at Granada and Seville. The idea, to expand the number of toilets in all provinces with care capacity to carry out these types of techniques.

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