The analysis of technological priorities and roadmaps aims at identifying key technologies to develop sustainable solutions in terms of products and services, focusing on people and people’s sustainable needs. These solutions must ensure a prompt response to change, ensure customization and accessibility, and be based on accumulated data and information.
The reference model is that of the “4P medicine”, based on which six pillars have been defined: education; prevention and improvement of life styles; early diagnosis; patient management and shared intake; patient empowerment and uniform access to treatment innovation.
In line with the 2014-2020 national smart specialization strategy, the roadmap has identified 5 main technological trajectories.
It includes three strategic priorities in which advanced technologies, including ICT technologies, are used to develop increasingly more accurate and less invasive diagnosis and treatment solutions.
Research and innovation in the pharmaceutical field is increasingly less associated to traditional chemical and pharmaceutical technologies. A key role is now played by the application of biotechnologies to human health (red biotech) and to the development of new drugs for the treatment and prevention of several major diseases. At the same time, biotechnologies and bioinformatics make it possible to optimize the drug discovery and development process.
Another pillar of innovation that has emerged in the science scenario over the last few years is regenerative medicine, aimed at repairing damaged adult organs in humans to restore their structural and functional integrity.
Due to its impact on health, agrifood research should set strategic objectives regarding omic techniques to study the relationship between food and genes in keeping metabolic homeostasis to prevent the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases (lipidomics and metabolomics are especially important in this regard). Data analysis with biocomputational methods must take into consideration interactions between diet-nutrients-biological activities, taking into account individual differences, in order to understand and modify health disparities in the population.
The increase in the average lifespan entails a higher percentage of the elderly population affected by normal degenerative processes associated to ageing. Some diseases which were fatal in the past can now often be treated even though the autonomy of those affected can only partially be restored. An ageing population implies an increased demand in care and assistance, which may become too expensive if faced in a traditional way.