The main goals of the Scientific Working Group “Precision Medicine” are as follows:
1. Promoting cooperation activities on genomic profiling in clinical practice:
- Developing tools for detecting genomic patterns relevant to disease development, progression, and treatment.
- Defining the utility of large-scale (panel/exome/genome) sequencing versus individual gene sequencing in clinical practice.
- Developing tools for sequencing of peripheral blood or cell-free DNA for the detection of pre-malignant states, minimal residual disease, disease progression and relapse of hematologic malignancies.
2. Fostering a classification of hematologic malignancies on the basis of genetics:
- The recent revision of the WHO classification represents the efforts of pathologists working closely with clinicians and geneticists. However, there is a need to further improve the integration of clinical features, morphology and genetics.
- Expert panels involving clinicians, pathologists and geneticists should critically revise the current WHO classification of hematologic malignancies.
3. Supporting the creation of publicly available centralized databases for genomic research and clinical decision-making:
- Dealing with ethical, ethnic, technical, and logistical issues.
4. Including precision treatment in clinical trials:
- Promoting genomic testing in innovative clinical trials.
5. Recent proposal regarding a “Functional precision hematology” group:
A group of European hematologists, coordinated by Jean-Pierre Bourquin, has recently proposed to create a network of European experts to develop and translate functional drug screening and other functional approaches in hematology (“Functional Precision Hematology”).
This group encourages exchanges and cooperation on projects related to systematic detection of functional information in hematologic diseases to improve disease classification and therapeutic target identification, to complementing precision medicine approaches based on genomics. A major focus of this group is to translate approaches for systematic drug testing in hematologic malignancies and pre-malignant states into clinical trials to improve therapeutic options. These colleagues plan to pursue the following strategic aims:
- To constitute a group of Experts to develop this technology
- To foster scientific exchange
- To align concepts for platform harmonization
- To develop guidelines and standards for academic research using this technology
- To identify synergies for collaborative research
- To develop clinical trials including functional platforms for treatment guidance
- To determine the unmet medical need of such technology in various hematological indications
- To promote the use of translating “big-data” workflows in the clinic
- To lobby for European Funding in this field
Following ad hoc discussions between Mario Cazzola and Jean-Pierre Bourquin, it was decided that the existing SWG Precision Medicine would incorporate “Functional precision hematology” to become the SWG “Precision Hematology”.
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The EHA SWG on Precision Hematology has endorsed the 2020 Functional Precision Medicine in Blood Cancer Symposium, which will be hosted in the context of a European Functional Precision Medicine Initiative. The symposium will take place March 10, 2020 in Zurich and will bring together global experts on high-throughput drug screening, precision medicine and blood cancer.