There is already a medical need for increasing patient involvement in health care, and this is likely to increase in the future. Visions of technology suggest that an "individualised health care" could emerge from the combination of this trend with findings from the life sciences in about twenty years: Medical services that can be more specifically adapted to the individual than in the past are seen as having the potential to achieve more ambitious quality and cost targets in health care. Such individualised medicine could permeate all stages of service provision - from prevention and (early) diagnosis to therapy and follow-up monitoring. It is based on such diverse scientific and technological developments as genome analyses, nanomedicine, autologous cell therapies, molecular imaging, nutrigenomics or the determination of patient-specific protein expression patterns.
Subject and objective of the project
The Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment commissioned a report on the future of this topic, which is still predominantly in the research and development stage. Already in the early phase of the research and health policy discussion on the future option, the aim was to analyse
> which lines of development in the life sciences can contribute to individualised medicine,
> how the current state of science and technology and possible future developments are to be assessed,
> what implications arise for technology development and the embedding of these technologies in the future health care system if they are to contribute to individualised medicine, and
> what implications could arise from individualised medicine for medical care, for companies and health insurance.