Hereditary, i.e. genetic, predisposition is partly responsible for the development and course of many diseases. In order to clarify personal risks and to optimally diagnose and treat diseases, Hirslanden has founded its own centre for genomic medicine: Hirslanden Precise. After a one-year pilot phase, this centre opens today in Zollikon with its own laboratory.

Complementing traditional approaches to medicine, genomic medicine looks at a person's individual genetic makeup and tailors medical treatment accordingly: In a first step, the personal risk for a hereditary disease is assessed on the basis of the individual genetic makeup (DNA). Based on this, experts determine which preventive measures and/or treatments are individually necessary, sensible and effective - for the person concerned and also his/her relatives.

There is a whole range of genes that are responsible for certain diseases. “New findings are added every year," says Prof. Sabina Gallati, Co-Head of Genomic Medicine Hirslanden, "Knowledge is already particularly well established in the areas of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Genetic tests are also included in the evidence-based treatment recommendations. For example, if someone has a high risk of breast cancer due to genetics, we can initiate measures for early detection.”

Genes help determine whether a particular therapy works

Hereditary predisposition also plays a central role in the area of drug efficacy: depending on the drug, up to half of all patients today cannot be shown to benefit sufficiently. Sometimes there are even undesirable side effects or complications. “Pharmacogenetics” uses genetic tests to determine whether a certain therapy is suitable for a patient and leads to the desired effect.

"The one-size-fits-all approach has long been outdated in medicine. Our ultimate goal is to improve people's quality of life based on their unique genetic makeup," explains Prof Thomas Szucs, Co-Head of Genomic Medicine Hirslanden and a specialist in pharmaceutical medicine. "If we know from the start that a drug or therapy cannot work because of the genetic predisposition, we can save valuable time and spare patients an unnecessary burden. Treating cancer patients with chemotherapy is a good example of this."

Internet genetic testing stirs up fear and causes scepticism about precision medicine

Genetic analysis only offers added value if it is embedded in the overall treatment of a patient. That's why Precise's genetics experts work closely with the treating medical specialists.

Prof. Gallati, who is also president of the Federal Commission for Human Genetic Testing, warns: "Today, a lot of genetic tests are offered on the Internet that provide no therapeutic benefit and feature meaningless or even false reports. This is negligent and creates fear. We use genetic analysis where it supplies added medical value, and wish to establish genomic medicine as the standard where it makes sense for patients. At the moment, knowledge about the possibilities of genetic medicine is unfortunately still insufficiently well-established: the latter is often lumped together with genetic manipulation or genetic engineering."

Fast results and guaranteed data protection

With its own Precise laboratory, Hirslanden now offers a complete range of genetic tests and consultations. “We go beyond the analysis and offer comprehensive care and service. With this offering, we wish to take a major step forward towards our goal: to provide quality of life for each individual and society as a whole”, says Dr Daniel Liedtke, CEO of the Hirslanden Group. The new in-house solution guarantees not only more efficient test handling but also better quality. Security and protection of privacy have the highest priority. Data are stored exclusively in Switzerland.

You can take a look behind the scenes in the enclosed video.

About Hirslanden

The Hirslanden Group operates 17 hospitals in 10 cantons, many of which have an emergency department. It also operates 4 outpatient surgical units, 17 radiology institutes and 5 radiotherapy institutes. Together with public and private cooperation partners, Hirslanden focuses on the continuum of care and the promoting of high-quality, responsible, personalised and efficiently integrated healthcare.

The Group has 2,314 partner doctors and 10,711 employees, 479 of whom are permanently employed doctors. Hirslanden is the largest medical network in Switzerland. In the 2020/21 financial year the Group generated a turnover of CHF 1,796 million (including CHF 12.6 million cantonal COVID-19 compensation payments). As at 31 March 2021, the Group had treated 107,401 patients for a total of 461,004 in-patient days. In insurance terms, the patient mix consists of 51 % basic, 28.8 % semi-private, and 20.2 % private insured patients.

Hirslanden is synonymous with first-class medical care provided by highly qualified medical specialists with many years of experience. As a system provider, the Group stands out from the rest of the market: interdisciplinary medical centres of expertise and specialised institutes enable it to offer the best possible individualised treatment, even in highly complex cases. The Hirslanden Group was formed in 1990 through the merger of several hospitals. Since 2007, it has been part of the international hospital group Mediclinic International plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Further information

Communications Hirslanden Precise
Nadine Büchler