Health EU project in phase 2 of FET Flagship competition
Health EU has made it into the second round of the selection process to become FET (future and emerging technologies) Flagships. Health EU is a major project, led by a consortium headed by EPFL in collaboration with hDMT and the University of Twente and run by Adrian Ionescu at the Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (Nanolab). If it is selected, it will receive one billion euros over ten years as part of the European Commission's ambitious funding program. A total of 33 projects from universities across Europe have applied for the FET program. Only 17 of them - just over half - were selected for the second round, scheduled to end on 18 September 2018.
An avatar for managing your health
With Health EU, everyone will one day have their own medical avatar - a virtual replica of themselves featuring their own personal data - that could improve the way their health is managed and the treatments they are given. This international project aims to achieve enhanced disease prevention, early diagnosis, more accurate monitoring and customized, targeted administration of medicines and treatments, especially for increasingly common diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular, chronic and neurodegenerative disorders.
The project's core idea is to combine customized medicine with digital technology, using the latest technological developments such as connected objects and artificial intelligence, as well as the novel concepts of digital twins and organs-on-chips. Digital twins are essentially computer models that enable doctors to test and measure the effect of variables, processes and scenarios that would be impossible to apply in the real world. Organs-on-chips let doctors observe the biological functions of an organ or the effect of a medicine - but outside the human body. That has the advantage of avoiding side effects that can sometimes be extremely harmful and allowing treatments to be tailored as closely as possible to a patient's needs.
"The Health EU project will lay the foundation for a bright future for European healthcare in the 21st century," says Adrian Ionescu. "It represents a human avatar-based revolution, where personalized medicine and the early interception and prevention of diseases will create an economically sustainable approach and enhance everyone's quality of life."
Professor Ben Feringa, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of molecular machines, adds: "This is a very ambitious program that combines modern science and technology to create new opportunities for the future of healthcare and keep it affordable." Professor Feringa is a pioneer in the field of molecular engines, catalysis and smart medication.
Health EU is being coordinated by EPFL in association with the University of Twente and hDMT, both based in the Netherlands, and represented in the coordination board by professor Albert van den Berg. More than 90 scientists from 47 leading-edge research groups at universities, institutes, clinics and companies in 16 European countries are directly involved in the project. Around 60 other scientists are project partners.