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Roswell Park Launches New Center for Personalized Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roswell Park Cancer Institute is investing $18.5 million to fund the launch of a new Center for Personalized Medicine (CPM) at its campus in Buffalo, according to the office of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

RPCI has already invested $16 million to fund equipment and infrastructure, and it has partnered with heatlhcare IT and bioinformatics company Computer Task Group (CTG), which has facilities in Buffalo, to develop the center.

"We needed a technology partner with healthcare and bioinformatics expertise that could guide us from the concept stage, when we were mapping out how to best put these new informatics technologies to work, to the implementation stage, getting us to the position where we are able to deliver personalized medicine quickly and cost-effectively," Roswell Park President and CEO Donald Trump said of the partnership with CTG in a statement.

The new investment in the center builds on $5.1 million that was previously awarded by the state's Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in 2011, and CTG is expected to contribute another $2.5 million toward development. Other collaborators in the effort include the University of Buffalo, IMMCO Diagnostics, and Western New York Urology Associates.

The CPM includes high-throughput genome sequencing capabilities and a 1,600-processor supercomputing cluster.

"We now have the ability to do robust next-generation gene sequencing on blood and tissue samples, with tremendous possibilities in terms of what we can learn diagnostically, prognostically, therapeutically," noted Roswell Park Deputy Director Candace Johnson.

The CPM's first projects will involve a three-pronged translational research effort. Under one project, the center seeks to predict on a personalized basis which of the two main types of chemotherapy will be most effective in treating breast cancer with the least number of adverse side-effects.

Another effort will involve a collaboration with Western New York Urology Associates to develop a diagnostic test for superficial bladder cancer.

The center also plans to use a mobile tissue-collection unit to engage 600 healthy volunteers from across various ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds from Western New York to identify the healthcare priorities of these communities.

Roswell Park also expects that in the near future it will use the CPM's resources to plan individualized care programs for its lung cancer, melanoma, and leukemia patients.

"We now have the infrastructure in place to offer robust sequencing both quickly and cost-effectively," Trump added. "The doors are wide open in terms of the opportunities for entrepreneurship and technology transfer that will flow from here."

The CPM will be led by Executive Director Carl Morrison, who also is RCPI's clinical chief of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and director of the Division of Molecular Pathology.