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Through enhanced diagnostic, disease prevention and tailored treatments, personalized healthcare holds great promise for each of us. Research in this field was long hindered by technical, interoperability, ethical and legal challenges, which prevented access to a wealth of consented biomedical data from patients. SIB has played a key role in coordinating efforts on the national level, and establishing the Swiss infrastructure which is now boosting research in this field, in which over 20 of our groups are active. We are also part of several European public-private partnerships, several of which aiming to facilitate precision medicine in cancer or diabetes. Through outreach activities, we also inform the public about the promise and challenges of precision medicine and the role of bioinformatics to enable it.

The large-scale infrastructure for personalized health in Switzerland

In 2017, the Federal Government launched SPHN to promote the development of personalized health research in the country. The central aim of this initiative is to make health data interoperable and broadly accessible for research while fulfilling ethical and legal requirements. In addition to our role in this initiative as Data Coordination Centre, through our Personalized Health Informatics group, we also set up the BioMedIT network which enables the secure sharing and efficient utilization of sensitive healthcare data. 

Projects and solutions to foster personalized health in Switzerland

As part of our role in setting up the Swiss infrastructure to boost personalized health research (see box), here are some of the initiatives we contribute to and enable:

  • The Swiss Federated Genomics Network (SFGN) is a national genomic strategy to facilitate genomics research and to accelerate the integration of genomics into healthcare. It includes the collection of data and knowledge about the genetic structure of the Swiss population. It results of a collaboration between the PHRT program of the EPF domain, SIB, the Health 2030 Genome Center and the Swiss Biobanking Platform ;
  • The SPHN Federated Query System allows researchers to assess if, where and how many patients present a specific condition of interest for an envisaged study over all five university hospitals in Switzerland. This is a key feasibility step for large-scale biomedical projects, which results from a nationwide coordination among clinical partners, piloted by our Personalized Health Informatics group. 
  • The SPHN Connector tool enables faster sharing of clinical data in the standard format adopted nationwide. It is part of the SPHN ecosystem tool stack and services for FAIR data developed by our Personalized Health Informatics group (read more)

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Focus on precision oncology

Some domains already benefit from concrete clinical applications of personalized health research. Precision oncology is one of them. Our teams develop for instance solutions, national collaborative platforms and training which are answering to the specific needs of clinicians (more examples). 


Read our special focus on making sense of health data in the SIB Profile 2020

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