Germany joins the 1+Million Genomes Initiative

 

On 16 January, Germany signed the Declaration “Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the EU by 2022”. The Declaration, launched in 2018, established a collaboration mechanism on human genome data aiming to improve disease prevention, allow for more personalised treatments and provide a sufficient scale for new clinically impactful research. Germany is the 21st EU Member State to join this initiative.

 

see PDF of the infographics for full text

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, welcomed this next step forward in the 1+MillionGenomes initiative:

Germany’s commitment to this important initiative on linking access to genomic data across Europe will further enhance the collective benefit of this cooperation and its potential to bring the best possible treatment and diagnostics to the European citizens, as well as fundamentally transform and the way health systems improve prevention through innovation .

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Education, Culture and Youth, said:

I welcome the commitment of Germany to this important initiative, which can help millions of Europeans by improving personalised medicine and disease prevention. Genomic data management and interoperability is ever more important in healthcare, but we still need to establish standard methods and tools. The One Million Genome initiative showcases how research concretely contributes to making EU citizens’ lives better. 

Why linking Genomic databases across Europe is important?

Providing access to a critical mass of genomic data across Europe is essential to advance research and the understanding of diseases, as well as to improve diagnosis and guide therapeutic intervention for more personalised treatments and effective prevention programmes. The Signatories of the Declaration have decided to focus on three main use cases: Cancer, Rare diseases, Common and complex diseases.

Attending the signing ceremony in Berlin, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said:

I welcome Germany’s signing of this important initiative that will contribute to advancing research and the development of new treatments. 

Genomic sequencing data sets are today available in many EU Member States, both as part of national genomic strategies, as well as of existing research initiatives and projects, but they are scattered and mostly disconnected. Linking these datasets and making them accessible in a secure way will create a greater cohort of genomic data, which will facilitate the research on innovative solutions for precision medicine and public health. Prevention is a key factor for both citizens’ health and health systems cost-efficiency and sustainability.

Background

The Declaration of Cooperation ‘Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the European Union by 2022’ was launched in April 2018. The initiative is open to EU, EEA and EFTA countries and to date, 21 Member States and Norway have signed it. Six countries are official Observers: Belgium, France, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Switzerland. The goal of this cooperation is to set mechanisms by which genomic databases containing sequenced genomes across Europe can be accessed and linked for analytical purposes, with a robust governance model and in full compliance with data privacy regulation.The initiative is part of the EU’s agenda for the Digital Transformation of Health and Care. Its goal is to contribute to improved health outcomes and to support the long-term sustainability of the EU’s health and care systems by exploiting the potential of new digital technologies, such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence and high performance computing. It directly contributes to implementing key political priorities, such as the European Health Data Space and the Commission’s plan to beat cancer.

Three illustrative cases: see PDF of the infographics for full text

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