Roadmap for a precision-medicine initiative in the Nordic region

Article metrics

The Nordic region, comprising primarily Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, has many of the necessary characteristics for being at the forefront of genome-based precision medicine. These include egalitarian and universal healthcare, expertly curated patient and population registries, biobanks, large population-based prospective cohorts linked to registries and biobanks, and a widely embraced sense of social responsibility that motivates public engagement in biomedical research. However, genome-based precision medicine can be achieved only through coordinated action involving all actors in the healthcare sector. Now is an opportune time to organize scientists in the Nordic region, together with other stakeholders including patient representatives, governments, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and funding agencies, to initiate a Nordic Precision Medicine Initiative. We present a roadmap for how this organization can be created. The Initiative should facilitate research, clinical trials and knowledge transfer to meet regional and global health challenges.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The Nordic countries, a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North and Norwegian Seas.

References

  1. 1.

    National Research Council (US) Committee on A Framework for Developing a New Taxonomy of Disease. Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease (National Academies Press, 2011).

  2. 2.

    Collins, F. S., Green, E. D., Guttmacher, A. E. & Guyer, M. S. Nature 422, 835–847 (2003).

  3. 3.

    Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. et al. Nat. Genet. 45, 984–994 (2013).

  4. 4.

    Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Nature 511, 421–427 (2014).

  5. 5.

    Khera, A. V. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 375, 2349–2358 (2016).

  6. 6.

    Gudbjartsson, D. F. et al. Nat. Genet. 47, 435–444 (2015).

  7. 7.

    Marouli, E. et al. Nature 542, 186–190 (2017).

  8. 8.

    Lek, M. et al. Nature 536, 285–291 (2016).

  9. 9.

    Acuna-Hidalgo, R., Veltman, J. A. & Hoischen, A. Genome Biol. 17, 241 (2016).

  10. 10.

    Kong, A. et al. Nature 488, 471–475 (2012).

  11. 11.

    Ebbesen, M., Sundby, A., Pedersen, F. S. & Andersen, S. J. Clin. Res. Bioeth. 6, 244 (2015).

  12. 12.

    Anonymous. Nat. Genet. 47, 425 (2015).

  13. 13.

    Maretty, L. et al. Nature 548, 87–91 (2017).

  14. 14.

    Flannick, J. et al. Nat. Genet. 46, 357–363 (2014).

  15. 15.

    Fuchsberger, C. et al. Nature 536, 41–47 (2016).

  16. 16.

    Novembre, J. et al. Nature 456, 98–101 (2008).

  17. 17.

    Palo, J. U., Ulmanen, I., Lukka, M., Ellonen, P. & Sajantila, A. Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 17, 1336–1346 (2009).

  18. 18.

    Lao, O. et al. Curr. Biol. 18, 1241–1248 (2008).

  19. 19.

    Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordic Statistical Yearbook 2014 Vol. 52 (ed. Haagensen, K.M.) 7–135 (Nord, 2014).

  20. 20.

    Wooldridge, A. Northern lights. Special report: the Nordic countries. The Economist (2 February 2013).

  21. 21.

    Thorlacius, S. et al. Nat. Genet. 13, 117–119 (1996).

  22. 22.

    Thorlacius, S. et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 60, 1079–1084 (1997).

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank the Banbury Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for organizing and hosting the meeting ‘Studying the Genomic Variation that Underlies Health and Disease: The Unique Contribution of the Nordic Health Systems’ at the Banbury Center, 16–19 February, 2016. We are grateful to C. E. Jaquish, G. Tybring and D. Høybråten for helpful discussions. We acknowledge funding from the Norwegian Research Council (223273 to O.A.A.) and NordForsk (to P.W.F.). Work related to this paper conducted by P.W.F. was supported by the Swedish Research Council and ERC-2015-CoG_NASCENT_681742. P.R.N. was supported by grants from the European Research Council (AdG 293574), the Research Council of Norway (240413), Helse Vest (PERSON-MED-DIA), Bergen Research Foundation and Stiftelsen Kristian Gerhard Jebsen (Center for Diabetes Research). A.D.B. was supported by a grant from the Novo Nordisk Fonden.

Author information

P.R.N., P.W.F., A.D.B., A.P., C.S. and K.S. wrote the manuscript, which was edited by O.A.A., S.B., J.D., T.E., N.F., L.G., H.H., D.M.H., E.H., K.H., J.K., G.P.K., M.M., A.M., P.B.M., J.P., A.P., W.R., H.S., N.O.S., P.F.S., U.T., M.V., E.V. and T.W.; P.R.N., O.A.A., S.B., A.D.B., J.D., T.E., P.W.F., N.F., L.G., H.H., D.M.H., E.H., K.H., A.J., J.K., G.P.K., M.M., A.M., P.B.M., J.P., A.P., W.R., H.S., N.O.S., P.F.S., U.T., M.V., E.V., T.W., C.S. and K.S. conceived the project.

Correspondence to Pål Rasmus Njølstad.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

H.S., U.T. and K.S. are employed by deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Inc. The other authors declare no competing interests.

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1 and 2, Supplementary Tables 1 and 2, and Supplementary Note

Reporting Summary

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Further reading