Eucor – The European Campus has several key areas in which its partners work more intensively together. One of these is its focus on Personalised Health – Precision Medicine. Christophe Schneble is the project manager for Personalised Health at the University of Basel and primary contact for the Eucor focus area.
Mr Schneble, what does ‘Personalised Health’ mean?
Schneble: Personalised medicine embraces diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic measures that are optimally tailored to an individual to have the best possible effect and least possible side-effects for each individual patient. However the focus isn’t just on patients but also on healthy people and thus also on the aspect of prevention. ‘Health data’ play an important part in personalised medicine and ranges from data obtained by standard examination methods (e.g. blood pressure, lab results, ECG, X-rays), through information on state of health, to sensor data and data from the environment (e.g. air and water quality, passive smoking, exposure to noxious influences).
What is the advantage of working cross-border in this field?
The challenges we face today demand increased cooperation. The Covid pandemic clearly showed that if we want to act quickly, if we want to exploit capacities and optimize resources, then cooperation between countries is extremely important in medicine. And this will be ever more so the case, if we consider demographics and the associated growing need for care. The pandemic also showed that international cooperation in research can respond quickly and effectively. We have a unique ecosystem in health care in the Upper Rhine region: Life Sciences are very strong at all of the Eucor universities, we have three university hospitals and many research cooperations such as the Upper Rhine Immunology group, which are often initiated ‘bottom-up’, that is, by the researchers. In addition, Eucor’s Seed Money offers a powerful tool for actively promoting such cross-border cooperations.
You’ve been the primary contact for the Eucor focus area since May. What are your first projects?
I’m currently working intensively on a project called ‘Clinnova’, which originally is a Luxembourg initiative. This is about creating a European Health Data Cloud. Major international players such as Google are also launching various initiatives in the field of health data. However in Europe we have different ethical and legal standards than in the USA. So we need a European solution that focuses on good ethical standards for data processing. Besides research data, the project in question is concerned with patient data that is fed from the hospital into research. The researchers analyze the data, using artificial intelligence among other things, and then deliver their findings rapidly back to the clinic and the patient. The idea is that this will make medicines, therapies or living aids that are ideally adapted to the patient rapidly available to the hospitals. Backed by the Grand Est region and Baden-Württemberg, the project involves both German and French Eucor universities, and Basel is due to join in shortly.
About Christophe Olivier Schneble:
Christophe Olivier Schneble took a doctorate on the legal and ethical challenges in relation to the use of Big Data. Before taking his PhD he worked for many years as a software developer in the health sector and was the CEO of the Department of Earth Sciences at the ETH Zurich, where he was also a member of the Strategy Commission. Since 1 May 2021 he has been the project manager for Personalised Health at the University of Basel and oversees this Eucor focus area. As a native speaker of both French and German he is passionate about cooperation in the Upper Rhine region.