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Prof. Michael Dustin was one of 17 researchers from across Oxford's Medical Sciences and Maths, Physics and Life Sciences Divisions that have contributed to a new report on the future of healthcare, compiled by Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (Citi GPS).

Blocks showing categories in healthcare

The report, 'The Future of healthcare: The Oxford Prescription', addresses issues such as the increasing pressures on healthcare as life expectancy and global populations increase, to the pressures placed on healthcare workers as demand for services increases. The solutions discussed include reorganising how healthcare is delivered and the use of digital technology in healthcare, as well as ways to prepare for future outbreaks and pandemics. It also acknowledges that significant inequalities persist in health outcomes, both globally and within the UK and USA, and the authors discuss the implications of this and possible ways to address it.

Specific topics in the report include drug discovery, biomedical engineering, digital health, public health and nutrition, genetic studies, primary healthcare and healthcare systems, vaccine development, cardiovascular treatment, immunology, and tropical and infectious diseases.

Prof. Michael Dustin,  Director of Research at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology studies the immunological synapse and how cells communicate. Where things have gone wrong across the interactions between cells, his group tries to find out how to correct that.

Commenting in the report Michael said: ‘Two of the things we’re looking at are “cures” and “repair and regeneration. Take “cures” and autoimmune disease. Some of the huge advances of the past 10 to 20 years have been based on controlling symptoms using powerful, highly specific drugs. In a disease like rheumatoid arthritis, these therapies can and do arrest the disease process, but not cure it. These are therapies that you have to continually take over your lifetime. These therapies are not addressing the underlying mismatch between genetics and environment that is driving the disease. Our goal in immunotherapy should be to intercept the underlying causes.’

Adam Spielman, Head of Future of Health, Citi Global Insights, said: ‘This report is practical – it isn’t just ivory-tower wishful thinking. It’s easy to say, for example, that healthcare should focus on preventative health, or that new drugs should help as many people as possible. What’s unique about the Oxford Prescription is that it really addresses how these things can be achieved. In fact, many of the professors we interviewed are helping develop some of the key technologies that will allow it to be put into practice.’