National commitment to precision medicine through Genomic Medicine Sweden

Published: 2018-11-21



Image: one of the four Clinical Genomic facilities part of SciLifeLab’s Diagnostics Development platform – Clinical Genomics Stockholm. Photographer: Fredrik Persson

Sweden is deepening its commitment to precision medicine, both within health care and clinical research. Genomic Medicine Sweden, an initiative with origins at SciLifeLab, has now received over 80 MSEK in funding, in order to enable the utility of clinical genomics in health care nationwide.

Through a two-year grant of 43,8 MSEK from Vinnova, Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) will start establishing genomic medicine in health care nationwide. The project has also received funding from medical faculties and seven regions and counties, amounting to 84,2 MSEK in total.

GMS will implement high-throughput sequencing technologies and genomics in health care, with the main aim of improving Swedish health care and precision diagnostics. The project will focus on diagnostic areas where genomic testing has strong evidence – rare hereditary diseases, infectious diseases and cancer – and in the long run also include complex genetic diseases.

Another aim of the project is to build a unique national resource for research and innovation, in order to identify disease-causing changes that may be cause for development of new drugs and treatments. The resource will also establish more industry collaborations, strengthening Sweden’s position as an attractive infrastructure for clinical research and innovation.

“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. In parallel we are building a unique resource that can be used for research and innovation”, says GMS’ project manager Richard Rosenquist Brandell, Professor of Clinical Genetics at Karolinska Institutet, in a press release from Karolinska Institutet.

The Genomic Medicine Sweden initiative was launched from the Diagnostics Development platform, based on established collaborations between SciLifeLab’s Clinical Genomics facilities and university hospitals in Sweden. GMS, together with the Genomic Aggregation Project in Sweden (GAPS), was also recently supported through one of SciLifeLab’s Research Community Programs (RCPs), networks that connect top researchers across Sweden with each other and the SciLifeLab infrastructure. This RCP, focused on large-scale clinical genomics and complex diseases, will bring together researchers from all over the country working on large-scale genomics as a way to understand the causes of complex genetic diseases. The primary objective is to connect the community to take the next step for complex diseases in precision medicine.

More information: press releases from Karolinska Institutet and Vinnova.