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The future of medicine at SALSS jubilee

salss 2015

At the 10 th edition of SALSS, the Swedish-American Life Science Summit, leading international scientists and industry profiles met to discuss the future of medicine.

According to tradition, the annual Swedish-American Life Science Summit opened with an evening reception. On the summer evening of August 20 the festivities started off at the Tessin Palace and opening remarks by Barbro C. Ehnbom. The evening reception was followed by a Gold Sponsor Dinner at Delphi headquarters.

The second day was initiated with welcoming remarks by Dr. Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of The Nobel Foundation, followed by a keynote speech by Nobel Laureate Dr. Peter Agre, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor & Director at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

From the other side of the Atlantic, Dr. Daniel Kraft, Medicine & Neuroscience Chair, Singularity University, then joined the conference via skype, fittingly enough giving his view on how technology can take medicine further. Dr. Kraft painted, through a speedy and well-planned power point presentation, a picture of the latest development within medical technology. How modern imaging techniques make it possible for the field of neuroscience to work more proactively, how patients have become empowered through the use of smart phones and applications and how healthcare has access to more data. Also, he highlighted the issue of discussing what should be done with these immense amounts of data in best possible way. “We need to move to an era of healthcare that is more proactive and continuous,” Dr. Kraft concluded.

After his presentation a panel picked up to give their thoughts on different issues for the future of medicine. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Alan I. Leshner, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science, who noted that the advances of science and technology are providing great opportunities for healthcare and that “It’s our obligation to figure out how to provide the best healthcare possible,” he said.

The panel consisted of Dr. Jan Lundberg, President of Lilly Research and Laboratories & EVP, Science & Technology at Eli Lilly, Dr. Martin Ingvar, Chairman at FORTE and Professor at Karolinska Institutet, Dr. Andrew Hessel, Futurist and Distinguished researcher at Autodesk and Dr. Florence Haseltine, founder of the Society for Women’s Health Research.

Dr. Jan Lundberg highlighted among other things the importance of doing more experiments in early stages in order to work toward more preventive healthcare. He also pointed out Alzheimer’s disease as one of the great future dilemmas, a disease which still has no good treatment to prevent or stop it. The development within imaging has made it possible to diagnose it as early as possible, “which I think is very important,” he said, “and I think that we will see great progress within the Alzheimer’s field in the coming years.”

Dr. Martin Ingvar also pointed out how the patient has become more in power through the rapid development in technology, and that the consumer interests are pushing the industry in new directions.
As further questions were posed by the audience, the discussion also dealt with personalized medicine, with economic aspects such as the role of the payer and the effect on healthcare as well as the role of physicians.

The second day also included company presentations by companies such as Immunicum, Genovis and Bactiguard, and seminars and panel discussions on aging and regenerative medicine. For example, a panel discussion with the topic Aging and Regenerative Research Driving the Future of Medicine was organized with participants such as Dr. Pranela Rameshwar from New Jersey Medical School and Dr. Urban Lendahl, Professor of Genetics at Karolinska Institutet.

The last day of the summit gave the participants further company presentations, hot chair interviews on Living with disease and a panel discussion on the financial landscape with Dr. Håkan Björklund, Chairman of Lundbeck & Partner, Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor, MIT, Dr. Johanna Adami, Director & Head of Health Division, VINNOVA, Dr. Raghuram Selvaraju, Senior Equity Analyst, Aegis Capital Corp and Dr. Eugen Steiner, Partner at HealthCap.

This was the tenth Swedish-American Life Science Summit in a series of summits that have been arranged in recent years. The summit is a private initiative with one of the founders, Ms. Barbro C. Ehnbom, as Chairman.