The Basque Health Research Strategy is committed to personalized medicine and neuroscience

The paper also looks at digital health, healthy aging and medical technology

VITORIA, 12 (EUROPE PRESS)
The Director of Health Research and Innovation of the Basque Government, Marian Ibarrondo, presented in Parliament the Health Research Strategy for the Basque Country 2022-2025, a document that prioritizes personalized medicine and neuroscience.

The strategy, approved last July and presented this Monday by Ibarondo to the health committee of the Basque Parliament, consists of five main axes.

The first axis pursues greater coordination and integration between research institutes, healthcare and business, as announced in a statement by the Ministry of Health.

In this way, it is proposed to strengthen the cooperation of research institutes with the ecosystem of companies and technologies. All this becomes a reformulation of the Euskadi health research system, which is now called “Basque Health Research”, bringing together bioaraba, biobizkaia, biogipuzkoa and biosistemak under the coordination of BIOEF.

SPECIALIZATION
The second axis aims to strengthen the specialization of the institutes towards excellence and the needs of the health system. Ibarondo highlighted that the Basque system has shown a 61% increase in high-impact publications and a 40.45% growth in publications since 2016, a percentage that the strategy intends to maintain.

The third axis is related to the creation of talent. Today, the Basque Country has almost 3,000 people doing health research, of which 85% are Osaka professionals. Most of the projects are also led by women and the challenge is to continue to increase the number of research staff and, among other actions, to define a research career model at Osakidetza, identifying programs both to retain and to include more talent in our system.

The fourth axis aims to promote a greater international presence of Basque studies in the world. Currently, the Basque public health system is involved in 56 international health-related research projects. It now seeks to expand this Basque presence through the leadership of competitive international projects.

FINANCING
The fifth and last axis aims to improve the financing of scientific projects. The budget that the Ministry of Health allocates to R+D+i is increasing steadily, with an increase of 15% this year, exceeding 25 million euros.

Ibarondo acknowledges that this effort, “while necessary, is not sufficient and requires collaboration between the public and the private sector.” Currently, the collection of external funding by the institutes has increased by 95% in the last six years, and the aim is to achieve a stable and effective framework for funding research and innovation in the health system, which allows for the consolidation of resources.

In his speech, the Director of Health Research emphasized that this new strategy is a “firm step forward” in the Basque Government’s commitment to health research, an area in which “the Basque Country is not starting from scratch”.

As he explained, the Basque Country “has a prestigious network” made up of health research institutes coordinated for two decades by BIOEF; as well as with the consolidated budgetary support of the Basque Government; ecosystem for public-private cooperation; and “the human capital that makes up the professionals at Osakidetza”.

Specifically, nearly 3,000 researchers who, in the past year, have participated in more than 1,800 projects and clinical trials, many of them international, and in collaboration with more than 150 organizations, mostly Basque SMEs.

This activity ranges from interdisciplinary research to research and development in oncology and neuroscience, crossing the fields of microbiology and infectious diseases in the last year with numerous projects related to covid-19.

Ibarrondo highlighted some of the research-driven projects being developed in the Basque Country, such as genomic sequencing, which “will revolutionize” healthcare and disease treatment.

All this through so-called personalized medicine and advanced therapies, research into multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases, or promotion of the childhood cancer clinical research department.

Likewise, he highlighted the latest advances in digital health to give the “best clinical response” to different treatments in cancer patients, depending on different clinical variables; as well as Advances in Healthy Aging, which explores, among other aspects, the search for markers for the early detection of diseases with cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other common dementias in old age.

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