Can Cell-Based Interceptive Medicine Revolutionise Healthcare?

Falling Walls Circle Tables are lending the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics discuss how we can apply science, research and innovation to get the world moving again.

Many diseases – from cancer to heart disease – urgently require new medical interventions. And in this Falling Walls Circle Table, the panel discusses the promise offered by groundbreaking techniques in cell medicine.

Cell-based interceptive medicine involves probing small samples of cells which could allow deeper understanding of disease, from diagnostics to monitoring. These tools can provide personalised medicine – choosing the right drugs for the right patient, or even developing new therapies. What’s more, even tiny tissue samples can yield invaluable information, giving insights into otherwise untouchable organs, like the brain or heart.

Achieving the promise of cell-based interceptive medicine requires profound levels of cooperation. Data must be widely shared to yield comparative insights, while respecting patients’ privacy. To substantially shape the future of medicine, tools are needed from a wide range of disciplines. Clinicians and biologists must be joined by mathematicians and data scientists to unpick the huge amounts of information contained within small numbers of cells.

Bart De Strooper

KU Leuven

Bart De Strooper is Scientific Director of the UK-Dementia Research Institute since October 2016. He is Professor of Molecular Medicine at the KU Leuven and VIB, Belgium and professor in dementia research at the University College London, UK.

Bart De Strooper’s scientific work focuses on the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. His major findings are the role of ADAM10 and presenilin/gamma-secretase in the proteolysis of the amyloid precursor protein and Notch, and he has worked on microRNA, mitochondria, and more recently on the role of the different brain cell types in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

He received his M.D. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1991 from KU Leuven. He worked as postdoctoral researcher in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in the laboratory of Carlos Dotti.

In 2018, Bart De Strooper, together with John Hardy, Christian Haas and Michel Goedert, was awarded the Brain Prize for their groundbreaking research on the genetic and molecular basis of Alzheimer disease. Other awards include the Potamkin Award of the American Academy of Neurology in 2002 (USA). the 2003 Alois Alzheimer Award of the Deutscher Gesellschaft für Gerontopsychiatrie und psychotherapie (Germany), the Joseph Maisin Prize in 2005 for fundamental biomedical sciences, (FWO Flanders, Belgium), the 2008 Metlife Foundation Award for medical research (USA) and the 2018 European Grand Prix for Research (France).