EULAC PerMed, a European project funded by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, organised the 'Great Week of Personalised Medicine' in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 9 to 13 December 2019. The events (summarised below) were hosted by the Agency for Research and Innovation in Uruguay (ANII), a partner of EULAC PerMed.
EULCA PerMed aims to strengthen global efforts for the development and implementation of personalised medicine and to foster cooperation between European and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries.
Event 1: 2nd Summer School on 'Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Research & PerMed'
40 participants from EU and LAC countries learned skills regarding HTA and its relevance for personalised medicine. Discussion and presentation topics included: psychiatry; oncology screening, diagnostic and therapy; e-rare diseases; clinical trials; genomics and the interesting vision of an oncology patient association from Uruguay. Among the participants, six students had been granted a scholarship to attend.
Event 2: Stakeholder Workshop
The Summer School was followed by a Stakeholder Workshop (11-12 December), which was inaugurated by the Uruguayan Minister of Health, Dr. Jorge Bassó. The more than 70 participants included: members of the EULAC PerMed consortium and representatives from ministries of health, ministries of science and technology, R&I funding organisations, research centres and private companies covering 13 LAC countries.
Participants had the opportunity to learn about different personalised medicine (PM) activities in LAC countries, and to discuss opportunities and challenges for the development of PM in the region as well as options to strengthen collaboration with Europe.
Several funding agencies from LAC countries were also able to directly discuss with the ICPerMed Secretariat (represented in the meeting by some ICPerMed partners) through bilateral meetings. Discussion topics included options for participating in future activities of the ICPerMed consortium, as part of the science and policy dialogue activities foreseen in the EULAC PerMed project.
Event 3: Technical Workshop
Finally, a Technical Workshop entitled 'Innovative methodologies for data use and management in Personalised Medicine research' took place from 12 to 13 December. Its 75 attendants included speakers and participants from Guatemala, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, Peru, The Netherlands, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, and members of the EULAC PerMed consortium.
The methodologies presented covered a broad range of applications in LAC and EU. Discussion topics included interoperability of data from multiomics studies, cohort integration, patient stratification through machine learning, optimisation of diagnosis through medical imaging, text mining of patient records and more. Discussions focused on opportunities and recommendations for strengthening the EU–LAC collaboration for PM research. The workshop also provided a great opportunity for networking among researchers.
Meeting with the President of Uruguay
An EULAC PerMed delegation was received by the President of the Republic of Uruguay, Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, who expressed his thanks to the consortium for the week of events. He expressed the country's interest in following these initiatives closely.
EULAC PerMed has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement Num. 825173.