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Children's Hospital LA Commits $50M to Expand Center for Personalized Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Children's Hospital Los Angeles said today that it will commit $50 million in institutional funding to expand its Center for Personalized Medicine.

The funding, which was recently approved by the hospital's board of trustees, will be invested over the next five years. The hospital will seek an additional $50 million in philanthropic funding from the community to support the translation of research into the clinic.

The center will be part of the hospital's department of pathology and laboratory medicine, led by Alexander Judkins, who will also lead the center.

The new investment will go towards the areas of cancer, inherited diseases, and infectious diseases, with an initial focus on pediatric cancer. The hospital has already developed a sequencing test for the retinoblastoma gene, RB1, in eye cancer patients. Also, in late 2014, the center won a $1.05-milllion grant from the US Department of the Army to for a core facility to develop next-gen sequencing tests for childhood cancers.

"Our expansion will provide us with the opportunity to study genomic features of all new and recurrent cancers treated at CHLA and support our Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, led by Director Alan Wayne, in discovering causes and novel therapies for pediatric cancer," Judkins said in a statement.

As the program develops, it will expand to include other genetic conditions, such as epilepsy, autism, neurocognitive disorders, congenital heart disease, and cleft palate.

The center will also explore collaborations with other children's hospitals and with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, its longtime research partner.