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US Institutes to Help Luxembourg Build $200M-Plus Personalized Medicine Programs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Three US institutes will help the government of Luxembourg start a three-pronged, $200 million-plus biomedical initiative focused on harnessing genomics technologies to study human health problems.
The government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg today called the initiative an “ambitious plan to increase the pace of innovation based on cutting-edge research in the areas of molecular biology, systems biology and personalized medicine.”
The US partners include the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the Institute for Systems Biology, and the Partnership for Personalized Medicine.
The central aim of the initiative is to grow Luxembourg’s personalized medicine capabilities, and it involves creating a biobank, a tissue repository, two molecular biology research endeavors, and a project focused on earlier detection and treatment of lung cancer.
The public-private collaboration was developed and negotiated with the aid of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and was constructed to integrate research, education, healthcare, and economic gains. The Luxembourg government did not disclose details about potential investments from the private sector.
TGen will be the US partner in developing The Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg, which the country expects will be a “hub for advanced biobanking, biotechnology and biomedical informatics” for Luxembourg’s European neighbors and other countries.
The ISB will work with the University of Luxembourg to create the Center for Systems Biology Luxembourg, which will focus on two research programs. One project involves sequencing the genomes of at least one hundred people and studying the role of genetic variation in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
ISB also will use proteomics, RNA, and cellular analysis methods to develop early diagnostic approaches and to predict disease and monitor the effects of existing drugs and their responses in patients. The project will involve creating new computational models for use in large-scale genome analysis and to integrate the resulting information with proteomic data.
The Partnership for Personalized Medicine and TGen will serve as core US collaborators for The Luxembourg Project Lung Cancer program, which will aim to develop molecular diagnostics for the disease, and will involve identifying and validating biomarkers that can be used to diagnose and manage the disease and treatment approaches.
Two other US institutes, the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, also will be involved in this project, which will target types of lung cancer for which there are not yet reliable detection tools.