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University of Colorado Health Leads $63M Regional Personalized Medicine Center Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Several University of Colorado-affiliated institutions plan to use $63 million to create a new personalized medicine center that will use genomic testing and bioinformatics in clinical care and in research programs to treat patients and improve outcomes, University of Colorado Health said today.

UCHealth will contribute $26 million to launch the new Center for Personalized Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, and its partners at the UC School of Medicine, University Physicians Inc., and the Children's Hospital Colorado will provide the remainder of the center's funding.

Much of the center will be housed at the UC Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, but it will serve patients and clinicians at UCHealth and Children's Hospital Colorado locations spread around the state.

The center will provide genetic and molecular testing services and consultations, and it will house a DNA bank resource that will sequence and store samples from around the region for use in treatment and research. These services will include tests to predict disease risk, to assess cancer patients' responses to treatment, and to identify the correct drugs and dosages for patients. All of the samples in the DNA bank will be de-identified.

An analytics department at the center will analyze and research the molecular and genomic data from the tests, and the center will hire "significantly more" clinicians, geneticists, and counselors specializing in hereditary cancer, Weaver said.
The Colorado Molecular Correlates lab at the UC Anschutz campus will handle the samples and testing, and is "vastly growing in size" to scale up for the increased number of submissions, UC Health spokesperson Dan Weaver told GenomeWeb Daily News in an e-mail today.

"I think one very unique part of this is that UCHealth is making these advanced tests and targeted therapies available throughout our system – so our community hospitals will be offering the services in addition to our academic medical center," Weaver told GWDN.

UCHealth said the plan calls for the creation of a new Division of Personalized Medicine within the CU School of Medicine.

Some personalized medicine and genetic counseling services are already being offered, and the center will expand upon these "significantly" in the coming years, UCHealth said.

UCHealth's members include the Colorado Health Medical Group; the Medical Center of the Rockies; Memorial Hospital Central; Memorial Hospital North; Poudre Valley Hospital; and the University of Colorado Hospital.