France to make personalised medicine a reality?

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Medicine, Cancer, Disease

France has placed itself firmly at the forefront of research into
personalised medical solutions for cancer, infectious diseases and
rare genetic diseases by investing nearly half a billion euros into
the ADNA project.

The ADNA research program will have a total of budget of €437m from 2007 to 2017 to try to make personalised medicine a reality in France, aided by grants and loans totaling €103.5m from the French Industrial Innovation Agency.

Headed by Merieux Alliance, the Advanced Diagnostics and New Therapeutic Approaches (ADNA) programme is being conducted by four partners, with bioMerieux and Genosafe developing new diagnostic fields and techniques to help Genethon and Transgene focus their therapeutic development. The €103.5m award for the next 10 years comprises of €61.4m in grants and €42.1m in loans repayable only if the project is a success.

Certain chemicals, known as biomarkers, can indicate the presence of a specific disease in the body and to what stage the disease has progressed. By identifying and evaluating these biomarkers the project will allow earlier disease detection and facilitate monitoring of treatment response.

Individual responses to treatment are determined by specific genetic factors and the project aims to develop products that will determine and predict patient response to drugs and allow better patient healthcare.

Combining these two approaches will not only take the guesswork out of finding the right drug and speeding up the recovery rate, but it should also decrease the likelihood of adverse reactions. In the US alone, an estimated 100,000 deaths and two million hospitalisations occur each year as a result of adverse drug responses.

BioMerieux, awarded €54.5m, will focus on the development of new molecular diagnostic platforms to perform high-added-value analyses of infectious diseases and cancers. Genosafe will use its €3.5m to develop the first integrated immunomonitoring platform for assessing the safety and effectiveness of both new biotherapeutics and currently available drugs. Genethon will research gene therapy products for orphan genetic diseases with their €20.4m award, while Transgene will focus their €25.1m on the development of therapeutic vaccines against certain cancers and diseases.

"The substantial amount of funding provided by the AII attests to the scientific benefits to be derived from the ADNA programme"​ said Alain Mérieux, Merieux Alliance CEO.

"The programme will support Mérieux Alliances strategy of promoting a comprehensive approach to treating disease, from prevention, diagnosis and prognosis to treatment and clinical monitoring."

Related topics: Preclinical Research

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