Cells are programmed to follow particular developmental paths during which they acquire specific identities and functions. When they deviate from their healthy path they progressively accumulate changes that lead to disease. Implementing a more precise, personalised and effective medicine for European citizens requires a deeper understanding of the types of cells and molecular changes responsible for driving the onset and progression of diseases or emergence of therapy resistance in each patient. The ability to resolve diseases at the level of individual cells is only now becoming possible due to the development of powerful single-cell approaches. Knowledge of the early events that cause cells to shift towards disease will enable us to detect them earlier and rationally design therapeutic strategies to intercept the disease, with the goal of reverting cells back towards a healthy state. This approach will enable earlier disease detection, discover disease mechanisms and systematically identify new drug targets, creating new opportunities to develop cures.

The Nature perspective article “LifeTime and improving European healthcare through cell-based interceptive medicine”outlines the LifeTime vision.

The LifeTime Strategic Research Agenda provides a roadmap for implementing cell-based medicine in Europe.