Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian create pioneering Institute for Precision Medicine

Published on February 1, 2013 at 8:29 AM · No Comments

Recognizing that medicine is not "one size fits all," Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have created the pioneering Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. This new, cutting-edge translational medicine research hub will explore the new frontier of precision medicine, offering optimal targeted, individualized treatment based on each patient's genetic profile. The institute's new genomic research discoveries will help develop novel, personalized medical therapies to be tested in innovative clinical trials, while also building a comprehensive biobank to improve research and patient care.

The Institute for Precision Medicine will be led by Dr. Mark Rubin, a renowned pathologist and prostate cancer expert who uses whole genomic sequencing in his laboratory to investigate DNA mutations that lead to disease, particularly prostate cancer. Dr. Rubin currently serves as vice chair for experimental pathology, director of Translational Research Laboratory Services, the Homer T. Hirst III Professor of Oncology, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and professor of pathology in urology at Weill Cornell and is a pathologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

Dr. Rubin and his team seek to replace the traditional one-size-fits-all medicine paradigm with one that focuses on targeted, individualized patient care using a patient's own genetic profile and medical history. Physician-scientists at the institute will seek to precisely identify the genetic influencers of a patient's specific illness -- such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease and others -- and use this genetic information to design a more-effective course of treatment that targets those specific contributing factors. Also, genomic analyses of tumor tissue will enable researchers to help patients with advanced disease and no current treatment options, as well as to isolate the causes of drug resistance in patients who stop responding to treatments, redirecting them to more successful therapies.

Preventive precision medicine will also be a key initiative at the institute, allowing physician-scientists to help identify a patient's risk of diseases and take necessary steps to aid in its prevention through medical treatment and/or lifestyle modification. In addition, the Institute for Precision Medicine will leverage an arsenal of innovative genomic sequencing, biobanking and bioinformatics technology to transform the existing paradigm for diagnosing and treating patients.

"This institute will revolutionize the way we treat disease, linking cutting-edge research and next-generation sequencing in the laboratory to the patient's bedside," Dr. Rubin says. "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 -- information that will spur the discovery of novel treatments and therapies. It's an exciting time to be involved in precision medicine and I look forward to advancing this game-changing field of medicine."

"Precision medicine is the future of medicine, and its application will help countless patients," says Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "The Institute for Precision Medicine, with Dr. Rubin's expertise and strong leadership, will accelerate our understanding of the human genome, provide key insights into the causes of disease and enable our physician-scientists to translate this knowledge from the lab to the clinical setting to help deliver personalized treatments to the sickest of our patients."

Three main resources will facilitate the institute's groundbreaking precision medicine work: genomics sequencing, biobanking and bioinformatics. Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian will invest in state-of-the-art technology to conduct sequencing, a more expansive biobank for all patient specimens and tissue samples and dedicated bioinformaticians who will closely analyze patient data, searching for genetic mutations and other abnormalities to identify and target with treatment.

"The Institute for Precision Medicine will enable our doctors to tailor effective treatments for individual patients and also predict the diseases that are likely to affect a patient long before they develop," says Dr. Steven J. Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "By harnessing the full potential of our enhanced understanding of the human genome, and extending its reach into the clinical realm, the institute will transform patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and beyond."

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