SPHN

01.03.2021

Swiss Personalized Health Network: changes in the Management Office

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The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) was launched in 2017 to contribute to the development, implementation and validation of the research infrastructure necessary for health data interoperability and sharing in Switzerland. Having served for seven months as director ad interim of the Management Office, Myriam Tapernoux passes on the baton to Thomas Geiger.

Already in charge of the Science Department at the SAMS, Myriam Tapernoux added in August 2020 the ad interim direction of the SPHN Management Office to her tasks. On 1 March 2021,  she is returning full time to her duties as head of the Science Department. Thomas Geiger was manager of «Personalized Health Basel» before joining the SAMS. Thanks to this experience, he is ideally prepared to take over the direction of the Management Office. More information about SPHN can be found on the website.

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Funding

04.02.2021

Neurosciences: Robert Bing Prize 2020 for Johanna Joyce and Grégoire Courtine

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The Robert Bing Prize 2020 goes to Lausanne: Johanna Joyce, professor at the University of Lausanne and member of the international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, is distinguished for her pioneering work on the role of immune cells in the development of brain tumours. Grégoire Courtine, Professor at EPFL, the University of Lausanne and CHUV, is awarded the Prize for his highly innovative research on neurotechnology to restore walking ability after a spinal cord injury. Each prize is worth 30’000 francs.

Every two years, the SAMS bestows the Robert Bing Prize. In accordance with the donor’s will, the Prize is awarded to researchers who have done outstanding work to improve the recognition, treatment and cure of neurological diseases. Due to the corona virus situation, laureates were confirmed by the SAMS Senate at the end of 2020 only, and the announcement was postponed to 2021. The award ceremony will take place on 27 May 2021. Further information about the laureates and the Prize can be found in the media release published today and on our website.

Media release (PDF)

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SPHN

01.02.2021

SPHN: Report from the National Steering Board 2016 – 2019

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Personalized health has the potential to transform health research and the healthcare system towards more quality and efficiency. The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) initiative was launched in 2016 on behalf of the Confederation with the aim of developing a national research infrastructure for interoperable health data. The report of the National Steering Board 2016 – 2019 presents the progress of the initiative and the challenges to be met.

The report presents the many infrastructures, technologies and methods that SPHN and its partners have developed to enable research with large amounts of sensitive data in a responsible, ethical, secure and legally compliant manner. One of the most important achievements of the first phase of the initiative is the in-depth analysis of the systemic challenges and complexity of data-driven health research in the Swiss federalist system. On that basis, solutions were developed with the aim to establish a sustainable research ecosystem for personalized health. You can download the report below or order a free printed copy.

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Academy

25.01.2021

Science Communication: Call for Proposals

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The Future of Science Communication Conference brings together European actors from research and practice of science communication. The conference will take place on 24-25 June 2021 in Berlin. It is co-organised by «Wissenschaft im Dialog» and ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities. The call for proposals is open until 28 February 2021.

Who can apply? The organizing committee explicitly encourages the submission of contributions by researchers as well as practitioners whose research and work is focused on science communication and the relationship between science, researchers and the public. The «Call for Proposals» (PDF) provides all the necessary information including the application form. More information regarding the conference can be found on the ALLEA website.

Call for Proposals (PDF)

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Publications

12.01.2021

Chances and risks of commercial DNA testing

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As DNA analysis is becoming less and less expensive, genetic tests are becoming more and more accessible. However, their commercialization raises technical, legal and societal issues. At the end of 2020, TA-SWISS, the centre of excellence for Technology Assessment incorporated in the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, published a study on this topic.

The researchers draw attention in particular to the blurred delimitation between so-called lifestyle genetic testing and medical tests, the abuse of parentage tests and the risks of using DNA phenotyping in criminal investigations. The study published by TA-SWISS is available as a report (German), a summary (English) or a short explanatory film. Download the summary below or visit the TA-SWISS website.

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Academy

02.01.2021

New members in the bodies of the SAMS

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At the beginning of the year, several changes are taking place in the different bodies of the SAMS. Prof. Paul Hoff (Zurich) becomes president of the Central Ethics Committee and ex officio member of the Executive Board. He succeeds Prof. Jürg Steiger (Basel) in both functions. In addition, the SAMS Senate elected seven new individual and honorary members by correspondence in November 2020.

A further change awaits the SAMS Executive Board from 1 February 2021. Dr. Jürg Schlup, ex officio member as President of the FMH, will hand over to his successor, Dr. Yvonne Gilli. The SAMS General Secretariat cordially welcomes the new members. Further details on the organisation of the Academy can be found in the "Portrait" menu.

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Academy

17.12.2020

ICU triage: Version 3.1 of the medical-ethical guidelines

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The SAMS and the Swiss Society of Intensive Care Medicine (SSICM) have issued a revised version of the guidelines on triage for intensive-care treatment under resource scarcity. Version 3.1 includes more detailed explanations of the ethical principles and further discussion of legal aspects. The recommendations for decision-making by ICU professionals (4.3 and 4.4) are essentially unchanged, although they have been clarified on the basis of experience accumulated during the pandemic.

Version 3.1 of the guidelines explains the principle of the short-term survival prognosis, which is crucial for triage decisions. Also highlighted is the need for careful consideration of, and re-evaluation of treatment in the light of, the patient’s wishes. In addition, the discussion of the unacceptability of age, disability and dementia as criteria for triage decisions, as well as the application of the Clinical Frailty Scale, was not sufficiently detailed in the previous version, which gave rise to some misunderstandings. These sections have now been expanded or reworded. The revised document is available in four languages (English, French, German and Italian) on our website, where you can now also find background information in the form of FAQs.

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Further information

SPHN

14.12.2020

SPHN: second funding period 2021–2024 and new fact-sheet

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The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) is a national initiative to improve the accessibility of health-related data for research. Since its launch in 2017, SPHN has developed numerous infrastructures, technologies and methods to enable research with large sets of sensitive data in a responsible, ethical and legal manner. Following the completion of the first funding period, the federal government has confirmed funding for a continuation from 2021 to 2024.

Together with the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, the SAMS is responsible for the implementation of the SPHN initiative. The Confederation plans to invest CHF 66.9 million for the second SPHN funding period from 2021 to 2024. The focus will lie on real-world implementation and consolidation of SPHN infrastructures and on harmonized standards, processes and principles for data sharing. SPHN further plans to lay the foundation for a sustainable, independent national center for biomedical and health research data. A new fact-sheet provides an overview of the status of SPHN at the end of the first funding period.

Download the fact-sheet (PDF)

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