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Finland advances toward personalized medicine

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Forty thousand blood samples from Finland’s largest biobank, THL Biobank, will be analyzed by biomarker testing technology developer Nightingale Health.

The initiative represents a step toward bringing personalized medicine to Finnish healthcare. The concept of personalized medicine is about moving from current medical practices, which deliver similar treatments for everyone, to providing more personalized treatments tailored to specific patient groups.

Until recently the analysis of comprehensive metabolic data from large-scale biobank collections has been impeded by high costs and time constraints. The process is now more viable through its technology, according to Nightingale. The company plans to integrate its technology into healthcare systems and provide tools for patients to follow up on their own health.

Dr. Peter Würtz, scientific director and founder of Nightingale Health, says, “Very large sample collections, with samples from tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals, are required to take concrete steps toward personalized medicine. Analyzing the 40,000 THL Biobank samples with Nightingale’s biomarker testing technology allows us to capture detailed biological differences between patient groups. This translates into improved prediction of heart disease and other chronic diseases in the Finnish population.”

Sirpa Soini, director of THL Biobank, says, “We believe that biobanks are an elemental part of solving global health problems. With the advent of personalized medicine, biobanks need to go beyond storing samples in the freezers and building clinical data repositories, by acquiring comprehensive molecular measures that have an impact on medical research and can eventually benefit our healthcare system clinical practice. We are excited to work with Nightingale to acquire comprehensive biomarker data to enrich our population cohorts at unprecedented scale. Our aim is to build THL Biobank into a treasure-trove for the global medical community, helping researchers and clinicians to find novel ways to build better healthcare for everyone.”

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