Posts tagged ‘Institute for Personalized Medicine’

Transforming health care through personalized medicine

Personalized medicine illustration of doctor and patientIt’s been nearly ten years since scientists completed the Human Genome Project, sequencing all 3 billion DNA letters of the human genome. While this was a groundbreaking feat, the biomedical community is now beginning to realize the promise of genomic transformation through an approach known as personalized medicine.

Penn State Hershey is taking the next step forward in this important area of research and clinical care with its new Institute for Personalized Medicine, which will use a multifaceted approach including home care to understand the correlation among a person’s biologic framework, the environment in which he or she lives, disease predisposition, and treatment options. By pursuing translational research—the kind of research that directly applies the latest scientific technologies to a patient’s clinical condition—physicians and scientists can tailor health care to individual patients and help improve medical outcomes.

Understanding the genome

The human genome is all of an individual’s DNA-based information, including our genes, as well as regulatory sequences that control gene expression and DNA for which no function has yet been established. With technology growing at such a rapid pace, many discoveries have been made and many more are on the horizon. Knowledge of a person’s genome allows researchers to understand how their genetic make-up and metabolic profile affects his or her susceptibility to specific diseases or response to specific therapies. Physicians can use this knowledge to outline predictive and preventive health strategies and to prescribe the right therapy for the right person at the right time.

“We now have a much more precise means of classifying and stratifying patients because we have much more information to accumulate on them,” says James R. Broach, Ph. D., director, Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “With that information we are now able to provide better correlations between patient outcome and the genetic and metabolic markers we can identify early on.”

“We’re reaching a few tipping points in the development of biomedical research,” adds Daniel A. Notterman, M.A., M.D., vice dean for research and graduate studies, professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology, and associate vice president for health sciences research, Penn State. “One of those tipping points is that the costs for developing very large genomic and metabolomic data sets about an individual are rapidly decreasing. This is matched by a corresponding increase in computational power and the rapid adoption of electronic medical records.” Scientists expect that in the near future, the cost for sequencing the entire genome will be low enough that it will be practical to do this for all individuals.

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July 24, 2012 at 9:15 am Leave a comment


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