Research to enable more personalised paths in health
Your health. It’s personal. It affects your life every day, and if it declines, you soon feel the impact. As scientific research digs deeper into the roots of health and disease, new and more targeted treatments are emerging. Getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time lies at the heart of these more effective treatments, and SFI-funded research is working to enable these developments.
Cancer is one of the key areas in medicine where targeting the treatment to the molecular specifics of the disease can make a huge difference to the patient, potentially reducing their side effects and improving their outcomes. The Precision Oncology Ireland consortium brings together researchers, industry and patient-focused charities to discover and drive new developments forward to diagnose and treat cancer patients in more personalised ways.
The personalised-medicine approach is emerging too in neurology, and the Precision-ALS project is working with partners and patients around Ireland and internationally to develop new ways of understanding and treating the degenerative condition ALS or motor neurone disease.
Meanwhile the EYE-D project focuses on degeneration in the eye, whether from rare inherited conditions or the breakdown of eye tissue in more common conditions such as diabetes. By working with patients, clinicians and industry, the scientists are digging into the molecular drivers of damage, with a view to developing potential new treatments.
The precision-medicine approach needs robust ways to diagnose and monitor disease, and the AI_PREMie project is using Artificial Intelligence and a deep understanding of blood biochemistry to better manage pre-eclampsia in pregnancy. The condition, which affects 1 in eight pregnancies and in severe cases can threaten the lives of mothers and babies, is getting a 21st-century upgrade to identify mothers who are particularly at risk.
Chronic pain is another area in need of better management, and Galway-based company Relevium is working on a new, injectable gel that can deliver a pain-relieving molecule into affected joints, such as knees. The molecule, RM010, blocks pain-channels in nerves and has the potential to tackle chronic neuropathic pain, the kind felt in osteoarthritis as well as several other conditions.
A key part of precision medicine is getting treatments to the right patients at the right time - but could we even use the time of day to optimise results? The Chrono-Vac project is exploring how immune responses to vaccination change in tune with our body clocks, opening up the exciting potential for fine-tuning vaccine delivery.