Pharmacy testing

RCSI Postgraduate programme to train students for new wave of therapeutic technologies

  • Education

A new Postgraduate programme at RCSI aims to equip students to become leaders in the health and bio-pharmaceutical industries of the future.

The RCSI MSc in Technologies and Analytics in Precision Medicine has been developed as part of the recent €7.8 million grant awarded from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Human Capital Initiative to the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, to expand the School's focus on emerging and future pharma technologies.

The programme is being developed and delivered collaboratively with leading national and multinational bio-pharma companies, with expertise across a broad range of innovative healthcare technologies.

Until recently clinical practices have largely applied a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment whereby a group of patients with the same disease are treated with a common treatment option. However, diseases can behave differently in each patient and treatment can result in different outcomes.

To address this unmet clinical need, precision medicine uses an integrative approach by combining the various genetic and molecular actors that underpin disease presentation and progression, with environmental and lifestyle factors, in order to personalise and tailor the treatment response to each individual patient. This ultimately improves patients treatment response and overall quality of life.

An example of such an integrative approach is the Cancer Genome Atlas. This unique database comprises of comprehensive genetic/non-genetic datasets that are derived from a variety of cancer types. Importantly, this information can be used by clinicians to stratify patient groups and tailor treatment options accordingly and in parallel allow clinicians/scientists to understand the genetic make-up and characteristics of each cancer type.

Genetic information, such as this, can be combined with data generated through technologies such as wearable devices to analyse lifestyle and environmental factors in patients such as blood pressure, glucose and general physical activity. As data generation continues to evolve, technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to further expand the capabilities and uses of precision medicine in the treatment of diseases.

The emergence and global evolution of precision medicine has led to the requirement to train graduates and personnel working in the healthcare sector in the diverse range of precision medicine tools and approaches, which is the primary aim of this novel MSc programme.

This project has been supported by the Higher Education Authority under the Human Capital Initiative, Pillar 3. Grant agreement: 17796884 'Enabling Future Pharma'. The programme benefits from the expertise of a number of industry partners: Congenica Ltd, Novartis Ireland, Microsoft, Aerogen, S3 Connected Health, Inflection Biosciences, Phion Therapeutics and Almac.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.