The importance of precision medicine continues to receive recognition globally, and has recently been formalised by the University of Barcelona with the creation of a chair of Innovation in Precision Oncology. The chair represents a route through which to bring society closer to the university with a focus on those disciplines particularly vital for people’s lives, such as cancer.

Dr. Aleix Prat, head of the Service of Medical Oncology at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, believes that “it is getting more necessary for experts who diagnose and treat cancer to have a broader knowledge of molecular biology as well as genomics and genetics, clinical and translational research, and a deep knowledge of biological therapies”. The chair will see the development of high-quality teaching and research programs to prepare experts to treat patients using precision medicine to positive effect on cancer patients and their loved ones.

Collaboration between universities and private companies is vital to make the transition from academia and research into the mainstream, and this chair will facilitate this shift. In oncology, precision medicine seeks to makes decisions on diagnosis and treatments based on the genomic make up of patients. Preparing tomorrow’s oncologists for this future is a key function of the chair, building their knowledge and application in genetic, genomics, molecular biology and in the mechanisms of new, targeted therapies. Beyond bolstering the next generation of oncologist, the chair will also encourage discussions and progress on health policy, legislation and the economics of oncology, reaching beyond Barcelona itself to oversee the development of a global network of similar centres of excellence.