Exposome research will provide quantitative insights into which exposures and exposure routes will contribute to health and the way that exposures may interact mechanistically. Additionally, exposome technologies will provide insights into the determinants of exposures. This all offers opportunities for prevention, such as data- and health-driven policies and regulations, personalised prevention, and real-time feedback and response, both on personal and group-based levels.

FROM CURE TO PREVENTION


If we are able to materialise these opportunities, it will contribute to a shift from cure to prevention. Exposome has the potential to contribute substantially toward addressing two significant challenges in the healthcare domain, namely increasing healthcare costs and a shortage of medical staff.

Personalised health and safety: sensor-based measurements can be translated in real-time into actionable feedback to prevent work-related accidents and diseases.

 

DEVELOPING PERSONALISED PREVENTIVE TOOLS


We intend to develop preventive tools to convert exposome data into actionable feedback and advice. Thereby optimising the impact that exposome technology and knowledge will have on preventing disease. Given the relative immaturity of exposome research, at the moment no example projects exist. However, TNO has a track record in personalised health which makes use of similar digital data streams and sense-reason-act principles to convert it all into actionable advice taking into account behavioural sciences. This has also provided valuable insights into ethical and privacy issues that accompany the use of personalised data.

PRIVACY BY DESIGN


Apart from technical challenges, the application of exposome technologies also brings about challenges. The use of wireless devices and the storage of information on the Internet leads to potential security concerns, for example. Furthermore, if these technologies are to be applied for assessing external and internal exposure to environmental stressors, then privacy and ethical issues should be addressed. Issues concerning data ownership and data protection need to be clarified and structured if the desired ubiquitous exposome monitoring is to become an everyday reality. Therefore, TNO uses the concept of “privacy by design” in all of the different domains to ensure user empowerment, transparency and data security.

Privacy by design

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Reducing the burden of disease caused by the working-life exposome

Exposure in the workplace can lead to many diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Current risk reduction policies and strategies are informed by existing scientific evidence. This evidence is limited due to challenges related to studying the complex relationship between exposure on the work floor and outside, and health. Taking a working-life exposome approach will mean a great step for occupational health science. We define the working-life exposome as all occupational and related non-occupational exposures (e.g., lifestyle, behaviour). TNO leads the EU EPHOR consortium which aims to develop knowledge, methods and tools to characterise the working-life exposome.

Read more about Exposome and our programme

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TNO Insights

EXPOSOME: connecting the dots for effective prevention of disease

12 March 2018
Our (work) environment has an important, and potentially avoidable, impact on our health. Knowledge about the precise effects of exposures in our environment is still limited. The concept 'exposome' –... Read more
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Dr. ir. Anjoeka Pronk

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