INTEGROMED aims to increase the excellence of LBMC in research and innovation in the field of translational medicine using omics based approaches targeted at metabolic disorders by capitalising on knowledge transfer from three internationally renowned partners in the field of medical research – University of Dundee, Lund University, and Weizmann Institute of Science.
The strategy of INTEGROMED is to develop sustainable approach for metabolic disorders prevention and treatment targeting virtually all aspects of translational medicine including the optimal use of clinical and biobank resources, integration of different omics in systemic workflow, reaching development of bedside applications and fostering entrepreneurism.
Project has a strong focus on study of metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes, however the training, mentoring and stuff exchange activities as well as practical outcomes will be available for other fields including researchers, clinicians and other stakeholders in Latvia, promoting to implement the developed strategies at larger scale.
INTEGROMED project objectives are:
1. To improve and optimize the use of resources provided by large biobanks and prospective cohorts in combination with national health care system, improve knowledge in establishment of clinical studies for development of precision medicine approaches.
2. To strengthen collaboration-based training of specialists in areas of multi-omics approaches, bioinformatics, and modelling to increase excellence in implementing cutting edge multi omics technologies in such areas as genomics, methylation and expression profile, microbiome and metabolome analysis.
3. To elaborate a long-term strategy and sustainability plan involving all relevant stakeholders, ensure development and training in clinical applications and entrepreneurial skills to build an innovation ecosystem around Latvian Biomedicine Research and Study centre.
Understanding and combating complex diseases and the introduction of precision medicine is a difficult task that requires an integrated approach involving the use of well-defined study cohorts, use of proper clinical information and variable research methods, as well proper action to translate the obtained knowledge for clinical use. It is now clear that studying, for example, genomics alone in order to explain variation in disease aetiology and treatment response is not sufficient and complex approaches involving omics based (e.g. genomics, epigenomics, microbiome-based metagenomics and metabolomics) is needed, complemented by systematic use of good quality biological material and phenotypic data.
In order to achieve this, an initial focus on the optimal use of existing biobank resources in combination with data stored in public health system is required. Next, well-designed clinical studies, both at discovery and at translational levels, is required. To maximise research use of these resources, including multiple omics-based data, it requires not only sufficient funding and availability of an appropriate analytical infrastructure, but also, and the most importantly, the experience and knowledge to analyse the large amounts of data obtained in similar studies. This is especially important at the level where data from different biological and physiological levels are combined in modelling and prediction of disease development for individualised prevention and treatment response. Next, to ensure the efficient translation capacity involvement of a numerous stakeholders from governmental, private and public sectors is crucial for the whole process. Collaboration with governmental bodies and public health organisations is needed to adjust legal requirements for safe and optimal use health data resources and promote the application of developed approaches. Of equal importance is the education and training of clinicians, general practitioners, and other medical personnel in principles and opportunities of personalised medicine approaches. Finally, raising the awareness among the patients and general public, and promotion of entrepreneurship to facilitate the implementation of new research requires well developed strategy for communication, training and involvement of private sector.
One of the typical complex diseases that needs urgent attention is type two diabetes (T2D), which is affecting approximately 60 million people in the European Region and is associated with premature death and increased incidence of complications. The economic burden of diabetes is significant.The health expenditure allocated to treat diabetes and prevent complications are estimated at about EUR 150 billion in 2017 in the European Union, with the average expenditure per diabetic adult estimated at about EUR 4 600 per year (International Diabetes Federation, 2017). Clearly, the prevention and management of T2D is complicated and requires more elaborated approaches than are applied currently. Project has a strong focus on study of metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes, however the training, mentoring and stuff exchange activities as well as practical outcomes will be available for other fields including researchers, clinicians and other stakeholders in Latvia, promoting to implement the developed strategies at larger scale.