Interviews with 3PM experts


Apotheken Umschau, 15 November 2021, Looking into the crystal ball, Nina Himmer

Professor Dr. Olga Golubnitschaja was interviewed

The specialist in bio-medicine, Prof. Golubnitschaja heads the research group for 3P (predictive, preventive and personalised) medicine at the University Hospital in Bonn, is president of the European Predictive, Preventive and Personalised Medicine Association (EPMA) and is considered a pioneer of this "3P" medicine in Germany and throughout Europe. "It is an issue that we can predict diseases for which there are no therapies yet. There is a great need for better patient counselling," she says.

For Prof. Golubnitschaja, the three Ps - prediction, prevention and personalised medicine - cannot be considered separately from each other. "The goal must be to predict diseases or assess their risk and at the same time offer individual solutions for improved patient outcomes," she says.

The specialist is convinced that 3P medicine could completely change the paradigm in healthcare: Away from a medicine that merely reacts to symptoms, towards a system that intervenes long before that. "In my opinion, ethically and economically, this is the only right way to go," she says, emphasising that predictive medicine has to be thought of more comprehensively: In the case of healthy people, for example, the aim is to use questionnaires and smart algorithms to identify and reduce the risk of disease. With sick people, on the other hand, the goal is to prevent severe courses and secondary complications.

Her international research group focuses primarily on common diseases such as cancer, diabetes and glaucoma. "Diabetes type 2 is a good example, because the risk of this can be well mitigated by treating modifiable factors such as lifestyle, amongst others, and the disease would cause much less suffering if it were delayed and pushed back" explains the researcher. Many cases of blindness, amputations and/or nerve diseases could be cost-effectively prevented in this way.

Genes alone are not the decisive factor. "We are therefore researching using multilevel diagnostics based on the complex biomarker-panels, i.e. in the blood which can indicate pathological changes." Such methods are already being used in some cases. In cancer, for example, it can be useful to look for specific molecules in the blood or to count and analyse circulating tumour cells to predict the risk of metastases or relapse. "One must not overestimate the role of a genetic predisposition," Prof. Golubnitschaja says.

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