Based in the heart of Mr Yousaf’s constituency, at the University of Glasgow’s Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), SMS-IC is an industry-led healthcare innovation hub in precision medicine.
One of eight Scottish innovation centres, SMS-IC encourages collaboration between leading experts from NHS Scotland, four Scottish Universities and industrial partners, with the aim of improving health and boosting the economy.
Precision medicine ensures drugs are specifically targeted to a person’s genetic makeup rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This helps get the right treatment to the right person at the right time, improving outcomes for patients and slashing the costs of ineffective treatments for the NHS.
Multiple collaborative projects are underway at SMS-IC that aim to improve outcomes for patients with chronic diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis and ovarian and pancreatic cancers.
Researchers are are aiming to discover how genetic mutations in some types of ovarian cancer tumours affect the way they respond to treatment. This has exciting possibilities for improving patient outcomes, as it could identify more patients who could benefit from effective new drugs called PARP inhibitors.
Another project aims to develop a blood test to predict which rheumatoid arthritis patients will not respond to the most commonly-prescribed treatment for the disease. This means they can go straight to a different option, thus alleviating their symptoms sooner.
Dr Diane Harbison, Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre chief executive, said: “It was great to welcome Humza Yousaf today, to hear about what’s going on in this corner of his constituency. We’re currently working on some exciting projects here at SMS-IC, which have great potential to improve lives, save the NHS money and boost Scotland’s economy.
“Scotland is all too often known for its poor health, but because of this high incidence of chronic disease, and also due to our NHS, we have access to world-leading data about health problems such as fatty liver disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis. This data may turn out to be the very thing that allows us to discover more effective treatments for these diseases.”
Humza Yousaf, MSP for Glasgow Pollok said: “As the constituency MSP for SMS-IC, it was fascinating to visit the innovation centre and hear about the ground-breaking work that’s going on there. The centre has such an important role to play in improving the lives of those living with chronic health problems, and it will be really interesting to watch these projects progress.”