Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital are opening a medical research and clinical center in New York to deliver targeted, individualized treatments based on each patient’s genetic profile. The Institute for Precision Medicine, as the new center is called, will conduct genetic research to develop new therapies for testing in clinical trials, while also building a specimen bank to improve research and patient care.
Physician-scientists at the institute plan to identify genetic factors behind a patient’s illness and use this information to design an effective course of treatment that targets those factors. In the case of cancer, genomic analyses of tumor tissue will enable researchers to help patients with advanced forms of the disease and no current treatment options.
Genomic analysis is also expected to isolate causes of drug resistance in patients who stop responding to treatments to help find more successful therapies. Precision medicine will be applied as well to preventive care to help physician-scientists identify a patient’s risk of disease and take steps to prevent illnesses with medical treatment or changes in lifestyle.
Weill Cornell and New York-Presbyterian will adapt three technologies to achieve these results: genomic sequencing, biobanking, and bioinformatics. The partners expect to acquire new equipment to conduct genomic sequencing, as well as build a larger biobank to store patient specimens and tissue samples. Bioinformaticians — experts in the quantitative analysis of medical data — will analyze patient data to search for genetic mutations and other abnormalities to target with treatment.
Mark Rubin (pictured at top), a pathologist and prostate cancer expert who uses whole genomic sequencing in his laboratory, will head the Institute for Precision Medicine. Rubin is director of Translational Research Laboratory Services, and a professor of oncology, pathology, laboratory medicine, and urology at Weill Cornell, as well as a pathologist at New York-Presbyterian.
“We will use advanced technology and the collective wealth of knowledge from our clinicians, basic scientists, pathologists, molecular biologists, and computational biologists to pinpoint the molecular underpinnings of disease,” says Rubin, “information that will spur the discovery of novel treatments and therapies.”
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