Barcelona Shapes the Future of Medicine

The Global Alliance for Genomics & Health 10th Plenary Meeting explores the use of technology in healthcare

Barcelona Shapes the Future of Medicine

Barcelona's Science Museum - CosmoCaixa hosted the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health (GA4GH) 10th Plenary Meeting on the 22nd and 23rd of September. During these two days, genomics and health experts from all over the world have agreed on the importance of promoting a more humane medicine by means of state of the art technology.

The congress gathered 250 attendees, and offered 36 speakers and 23 panels and workshops which focused on the challenges posed by the generation, management and analysis of large amounts of genomic and clinical data. Topics ranged from the relevance of genomics in sequencing and tracing SARS-CoV-2, to the future application of personalized treatments for diabetes or cancer patients.

GA4GH is an international consortium leading the promotion of technical standards and policy frameworks which aim to break down the current barriers to biomedical data sharing, in order to advance research and facilitate implementation. Peter Goodhand, founder and CEO of GA4GH, was very satisfied with the outcome of the first presential plenary after the pandemic: "It is great to be back in person, and people have said we couldn't have chosen a better place: Barcelona has made us very much feel at home".

Goodhand also highlighted the role of the Catalan capital as a genomic research hub that places Spain among the top five contributors to GA4GH's task. Therefore, he thanked Bioinformatics Barcelona (BIB) for making this congress possible. This non-profit association comprises 70 public and private institutions dedicated to research in biology and computer science with three common goals: knowledge generation, research advances and industrial competitiveness.

Dr. Ana Ripoll, President of BIB, shared Goodhand's enthusiasm: "Hosting this meeting is an opportunity to visualize what is being done worldwide, and learning firsthand the latest advances towards a global and personalized healthcare". Ripoll trusts that technology will humanize medicine by helping health professionals with decision-making so they can dedicate more time to patients.

The conference ended with a guest star, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization. Swaminathan insisted on the need of implementing genomic research on a global scale, also in low and middle income countries, but always in a responsible way that respects standards and policies as the ones GA4GH promotes.

San Francisco will take over hosting next year's GA4GH's Plenary Meeting, with the mission to continue guiding technology towards a healthcare model that really serves people.

Press Release (pdf)