What is PHRT?
In its strategic plan for the ETH Domain, the ETH Board defined "Personalized Health and Related Technologies" (PHRT) as one of its strategic focus areas (SFA). PHRT aims at contributing the scientific and technological strengths of the ETH Domain institutions to the field of personalized health and personalized health technologies. These contributions are seen as complementary to the efforts undertaken by other initiatives, such as the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) and international programs.
The institutions of the ETH Domain play a key role in (bio)medical research and medical technology in the Swiss university system. Advances in life sciences and information technology (IT) allow the collection and analysis of large amounts of health-related data: clinical and -omics data, data from biobanks, and health data collected by individuals themselves. Making use of such data to optimize the medical care given to each individual is the ultimate objective of personalized medicine. But while personalized medicine focuses on individual patients, personalized health aims to use the analyzed data for the benefit of the population at large by identifying and tackling health risks at early stages, and applying appropriate preventive and therapeutic measures.
Medical-related technology encompasses a wide range of health management measures and is used to diagnose and monitor health status as well as to treat disease. Through PHRT, the institutions of the ETH Domain will have a leading role in the development of novel technologies relevant for personalized health, the development and operation of large and highly specialized research infrastructures which are intensively used in relation with personalized health, the development of medical technology devices, as well as technology platforms, particularly in the field of translational medical Research.
Through PHRT, clinics and the health sector will gain access to the ETH Domain’s know-how in the areas of basic science and technology. This cooperation will enable the establishment of personalized medicine based on the cutting-edge research of the ETH Domain.
Aims of PHRT
The PHRT initiative concerns technical applications, including information technology, biotech and monitoring instruments that aim to:
Improve the quality of healthcare delivered through earlier and better diagnosis, less invasive treatment options and reductions in hospital stays or rehabilitation times in patients, and
Select therapeutic strategies for individual patients based on genetic, biomarker or other patient-related factors. This last element is key to the characterization of medical-related technology in the framework of personalized medicine.
Not included are simple passive devices, for example a hip implant. This initiative will provide significant value for patients and clinicians and foster a healthy society.