A 'Call to Action' – How Queen's University Belfast is Aiding the Promise of Precision Medicine and Personalized Healthcare

Concept of application new technology in future medicine

Queen’s University Belfast has launched a ‘Call to Action’ in the European Parliament, the EU’s only directly-elected institution, for the widespread employment of cancer biomarkers to underpin a precision cancer medicine health strategy for European citizens.

The initiative, is led by Professor Mark Lawler, MD, Center for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.


It is critical that we use biomarkers to enhance our ability to detect cancer at the earliest possible stage and to employ biomarkers to inform our clinical management of patients following treatment…


Cancer biomarkers are molecules that are produced by cancer cells and that can be detected in bodily fluids or tissues. They help identify people who have cancer or who are at risk of getting cancer and are also key to the use of personalized approach to treat cancer, based on an individual?s specific genomic profile within his/her cancer cells.

Photo 1.0: Professor Mark Lawler (left) at European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

Enhancing detection
?It is critical that we use biomarkers to enhance our ability to detect cancer at the earliest possible stage and to employ biomarkers to inform our clinical management of patients following treatment, Lawler said, speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels, as part of a European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) event hosted by Member of the European Parliament Marlene Mizzi (S&D, Malta).

“Without access to clinically relevant biomarkers, it will not be possible for Europe to realize the promise of precision medicine and personalized healthcare, thus disadvantaging European cancer patients from receiving the best possible care for their disease,” Lawler added.

“Biomarkers can detect cancer earlier, select best treatment options for patients and spare patients the debilitating side effects of treatments that will have no therapeutic benefit. If used appropriately, they can also lead to cost efficiencies and cost savings within health services across Europe,? Lawler explained.

Photo 2.0: European Parliament.

Driving a research-enabled comprehensive cancer
Professor Lawler highlighted how research at Queen?s University Belfast is at the forefront of this precision medicine revolution and is driving a research-enabled comprehensive cancer care agenda, involving patients, academia, health care and industry which he highlighted as a model to be scaled up at European level.

Queen?s reputation in this exciting area of healthcare is also reflected in the decision of the European Alliance for Personalized Medicine, the premier European policy organization to have its inaugural congress in Belfast.

?Queen?s is playing a central role in embedding precision medicine and personalized health into European health care systems and Professor Lawler?s leadership emphasizes Queen?s international reputation in this critical part of 21st century healthcare,” noted James McElnay, Acting Vice Chancellor and President of Queen?s University Belfast.

?Coming on the back of the recent highly successful European Alliance for Personalized Medicine Congress in Belfast, an official EU Presidency event, Professor Lawler?s central role in this current initiative that he is launching in the European Parliament emphasises how we at Queen’s are driving the international Precision Medicine agenda,? McElnay concluded.


Last Editorial Review: December 6, 2017

Featured Image: Personalized Medicine. Courtesy: ? Fotolia | Used with permission. Photo 1.0: Professor Mark Lawler (left) at European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Photo 2.0: European Parliament.

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