EU research project to boost personalised medicines

By training joint statistics and genetics experts

A European Union (EU) research project will seek to boost personalised medicines development by training specialists in both genetics and computerised statistical techniques.

Participants in the EU’s €3.7m MLPM2012 project have concluded that the lack of researchers with expertise in both fields restricts personalised medicine creation.

‘Many methodological problems remain to be solved’, said the EU, with too few methods delivering ‘a causal understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms, including gene-gene and gene-environment interactions’.

It added that there is ‘an urgent need for integration of the heterogeneous patient data currently available, for improved and robust biomarker discovery for disease diagnosis, prognosis and therapy outcome prediction’.

The project, coordinated by Germany’s Max Planck institute, in Munich, from 2012–16, aims to address these problems by training geneticist statisticians. They would be adept especially in machine learning, which detects patterns, rules and statistical dependencies in large datasets.