1. Genome data

    Promoting individual health and well-being

More on this

New genome data will revolutionise healthcare

Sitra is supporting the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in the preparation of a national genome strategy. Currently under way, the preparation work is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015. Read more here.

Tremendous opportunities lie in new genetic research methods for analysing what makes people healthy or fall ill, and how to prevent and cure diseases. Genome-related information can be used to make better individual choices, target screening and diagnostics and choose the most effective medications. People can thus take responsibility for and affect their own well-being if they wish to do so.

Genome-related information can be used to chart the risk factors threatening an individual’s health and to provide more precise and effective treatment. In addition to hereditary factors – the genome – a person’s health and well-being are affected by environmental factors, personal choices and chance. Analysis of hereditary risk factors enables a shift towards more preventive and cost-effective healthcare. 

Individual genome-related information is the key to adopting a new way of thinking and practices in well-being and healthcare. The cost of genome sequencing has fallen one million-fold during the last few years. In addition to healthcare professionals, consumers can purchase their individual genome-related information directly from genome data service providers.

Genome data as a tool for well-being

Sitra aims to ensure that genome-related information will be put to effective use as part of individual well-being, healthcare and the prevention of illnesses on a national scale. This would enable people to live longer and healthier lives. 

Citizens must therefore be provided with the opportunity to access information on key hereditary risk factors affecting their health and well-being. We must start from the idea that individuals will have ownership of their personal genome data and the right to decide on its use.

Sitra promotes the use of genome data and self-care by participating in pilot and co-operation projects. Projects are launched and implemented together with various partners. Sitra also seeks to encourage service provision and business in this field in Finland, for example by investing in top companies in the sector.

The field and its service business prospects for Finnish companies are described in the report Direct-to-consumer genome data services and their business models (in Finnish).


Professor Leena Palotie envisioned a wise and humane future for the use of genome information as early as in 2000: “Who owns an individual’s genome information and to what extent should this information be made available to the individual, his or her family, the healthcare system, the employer or the insurance company? A wise solution to these questions requires not only social debate but also national and international agreements and legislation, based on a sincere aim of acting in the individual’s best interests – not those of society.” (Leena Palotie: Mihin genomiprojekti johtaa? Duodecim, 2000, in Finnish).

In his book, American cardiologist and geneticist Eric Topol describes the potential major transition in healthcare, in which a key role would be played by genome information and its use. According to Dr Topol, the transition will only be possible if consumers demand it. Eric Topol: Creative Destruction of Medicine – How the digital revolution will create better health care, Basic Books, New York, 2012.

The Faroe Islands is offering its entire population the opportunity to take part in whole genome sequencing: Faroe Islands Aim to Sequence Genes of Entire Country, Discover Magazine, 2013.

The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) conducts world-class research in charting the genome of the Finnish population and has compiled a Finnish gene atlas. In its work, FIMM combines high-quality research and technology with unique patient data and biobank material. The aim is to promote translational research and the adoption of personalised medicine in healthcare. The new Finnish Gene Atlas places Finns on the world’s genetic map, FIMM 2010.

Geeniatlas paljastaa suomalaisten poikkeavuuden, Yliopisto-lehti 2010 (in Finnish).

Hyvä kunto – mitä se on? Suomen Liikunnan Ammattilaiset SLA ry (in Finnish).

Report on how the UK can benefit from the adoption of genomic technology. The report includes a strategic vision and practical recommendations: Genomic Technology in Healthcare: Building On Our Inheritance, UK 2012.


Content feed

Internal Content External Content
Article Data should equal people power

Controlling the growing mass of personal data will have enormous benefits for society and individuals.

1 year ago by Jukka Vahti

Event GetPersonalized! Summit in Helsinki

GetPersonalized! summit was a high-profile and invite-only event about personalised healthcare and the new era of healthcare. In the last week of May the Ruoholahti district in Helsinki turned into a meeting hub for hundreds of international investors, growth entrepreneurs, public decision-makers and corporate representatives. Many of them have growing interest...

1 year ago by Mirkka Helkkula

Blog My genes are not mine alone

Read the thoughts of one expert on the ongoing and complex debate surrounding Finland's genome strategy...

2 years ago by Saara Hassinen

Event BioIT konferenssi- ja verkottumismatka Bostoniin

Sitra on mukana järjestämässä Tekesin BioIT-ohjelman verkottumismatkaa Bostoniin huhti-toukokuussa. Kaupungissa on tuolloin bioIT-alan merkittävä suurtapahtuma BioIT World Conference & Expo 2014, joka kokoaan yhteen yli 2500 biotieteiden, lääkealan, terveydenhuollon ja IT:n asiantuntijaa ympäri maailmaa. Tämän lisäksi kaupungissa on vierailumme aikana myös Medical Informatics...

2 years ago by Ville Koiste

News Survey: could more genetic information lead to lifestyle changes?

One in three Finns would be willing to reassess their lifestyle if they had more specific information on their personal hereditary risk factors, according to a survey. The majority of Finns have a positive view of the proliferation of genetic testing in healthcare. But the most important development objective according to many is to develop legislation so that genetic information does not end...

3 years ago by Tiina Heinilä

Other site YLE: Genetic testing trials to start

This spring 200 blood donors will be offered the possibility of voluntary genetic testing in Finland. The use of genetic testing and genetic information promises to be one of the biggest preventative measures in health care in the next five years.

3 years ago from site yle.fi

Event FIMM Special Seminar by Stephen Friend

What is needed to exit the Age of "Medical Alchemy": New Tools and New Approaches Stephen H. Friend, MD, PhD,  President of Sage Bionetworks Dr. Friend is a world leader in efforts making large scale, data-intensive biology more openly accessible to citizens and the research community in order to accelerate scientific progress (...

3 years ago by Kirsi Suomalainen

Other site Genome sequencing

New possibilities for personalised cancer treatment: The most common cancer causing mutations are known, and diagnostic tests and medicines have been developed for them. However, because of the underlying personal gene variations, these medicines are not always effective. In order to identify these personal mutations in cancer patients, we turn to genome sequencing. In this film you can see how the genetic background of a non-responsive leukemia is identified using next-generation sequencing at the Technology Centre of FIMM, the Institute for Molecular Medicine, Finland [1]. In optimal cases, findings from genome sequencing can lead to precise treatment for individual patients. [1] http://www.fimm.fi/en/

3 years ago from site vimeo.com

Other site Drug sensitivity testing

New possibilities for personalised cancer treatment: Commonly used cancer treatments are not always effective against malignantly transformed cells. Drug repositioning, the application of existing drugs not used currently against a given cancer, is a way to develop new treatments. In this film you can see how drug sensitivity testing, the process by which patient cells are examined experimentally for response in activity to various drugs, is done at the Technology Centre of FIMM, the Institute for Molecular Medicine [1], Finland.   [1] http://www.fimm.fi/en/

3 years ago from site vimeo.com

News Top Finnish expertise in the spotlight in the USA

Finland is the hottest spot in Europe for health and wellness innovations. Over 30 leading Finnish health and wellness companies present their expertise at Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, USA.   Finland has internationally high standards of medical research and world-class companies in the health and wellness sectors. This dynamic, innovative environment and a high level of...

3 years ago

Event Health 2.0 Conference, California

Sitra and Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) have arranged a conference and networking trip to California from 28 September to 6 October, which will include attending the Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Silicon Valley. The event will attract numerous experts and decision-makers in the health and well-being sector. The conference is specifically aimed at companies...

3 years ago by Mirja Gröhn

Related Themes

2017 Sitra | Usage Rights