Vision Zero Cancer and Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) join forces with SciLifeLab, public sector authorities, regions, healthcare, academia, industry and patient organizations to create an innovation milieu that facilitates the introduction of more precise prevention and treatment in cancer care.
Through the call Innovation milieus within Precision Health 2021, The Swedish Innovation Agency, Vinnova, has chosen to invest in 11 innovation milieus in precision health that will pave the way for more prevention, precision, and equity in healthcare and contribute to strengthening Sweden as a life science nation.
“GMS is very pleased to participate in this broad consortium that together can move the positions for national clinical studies in cancer in Sweden. At GMS, we are already working on a national, structured implementation of genomics-based precision medicine and we look forward to working together in furthering more clinical studies”, says Anders Edsjö, Vice-Chair of GMS management team, Section Head and Senior Molecular Pathologist at Clinical Genetics and Pathology, Region Skåne.
The research institute SIR at the Stockholm School of Economics is the coordinator for Vision Zero Cancer and for the new innovation milieu “Test Bed Sweden for Clinical Trials and Implementation of Precision Health in Cancer Care”, which has been granted funding for five years by Vinnova and which will be part of the national strategic innovation program Swelife.
“For cancer patients, this is a piece of the puzzle that enables the development of new innovations so that more people can live longer and better lives. This initiative consolidates Vision Zero Cancer as a national point of contact for system innovation and strengthens our ambition to spread Vision Zero globally”, says Ebba Hallersjö Hult, co-founder and head of Vision Zero Cancer and Test Bed Sweden.
Patient perspective is central to the initiative
“The Network Against Cancer looks forward to the joint work within the testbed with a focus on co-creation with patients and next of kin. We see great opportunities to push for a faster roll-out of clinical studies and the implementation of precision medicine”, says Margareta Haag, Chair of the Network Against Cancer.
As outlined in the national Life Science strategy, the Swedish government has a stated ambition that Sweden should be a pioneer in the introduction of precision medicine in healthcare. Predictions suggest that precision medicine is likely to grow primarily in cancer care over the next decade with between 300 and 400 new immunotherapies, targeted drugs, and tumour agnostic drugs estimated to have been approved by 2030.
“Conducting clinical studies within healthcare is a prerequisite for patients in Sweden to be able to access the fantastic opportunities brought by precision medicine. The initiative Vinnova has now decided to finance will advance the positions for how we conduct clinical studies, which in turn means greater incentives and better conditions for more pharmaceutical companies to place their studies in Sweden and thereby contribute to the development of precision medicine”, says Frida Lundmark, Policy expert at Lif – the research pharmaceutical companies.
Wide range of actors behind the initiative
Test Bed Sweden is an add-on to, and further development of, the Vinnova-funded innovation milieu Vision Zero Cancer established in 2019 with the long-term vision that no one should have to die of cancer. Behind the Test Bed initiative and application are 16 different actors (see box below). The range of actors is something seen as a key to success.
“By developing and implementing precision medicine through diagnostics and treatment in clinical routine, there is a good chance to reach the Vision Zero. Giving patients faster access to effective and nationally equitable precision health in the field of cancer is crucial”, says Hans Hägglund, Sweden’s national cancer coordinator and co-founder of Vision Zero Cancer and Test Bed Sweden.
“Sweden needs an innovation milieu to stimulate and facilitate national clinical studies within precision medicine for patients with cancer. We have gathered a number of important players who need to be involved to make this possible. The testbed has the national and international reach to initiatives and groups of actors that can contribute and collaborate in this endeavor”, concludes Richard Rosenquist Brandell, Chair of GMS management team, Professor and Senior Physician in Clinical Genetics at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital.
Behind the initiative and application are the following actors: Vision Zero Cancer, Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS), Regional Cancer Centres (RCC), The Medical Products Agency, The Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency (TLV), SciLifeLab, the consortium behind the clinical study Megalit coordinated by the Academic Hospital in Region Uppsala, The Stockholm School of Economics, Halmstad University, the Institute for Health Care Economics (IHE), the Network against Cancer, Lung Cancer Society, Lif – the research pharmaceutical companies, Swedish Medtech and Ascro.
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