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Lawson Health Awarded C$4.4M to Study Precision Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Canada's Lawson Health Research Institute announced this week that it has received C$4.4 million ($3.5 million) in funding to study the personalized medicine program at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

With the funding, a research team led by Lawson's Richard Kim will work with LHSC clinical pharmacologists to follow patient outcomes — including hospital stays, emergency department visits, and physician visits — and assess the cost-effectiveness of the program, which performs genetic testing on patients in order to match them to a specific treatment. For instance, LHSC currently offers testing to cancer patients prescribed 5-fluorouracil to help predict how they will respond to the drug.

Patients participating in the program will also be compared with others in Ontario using provincial health care data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences with the goal of demonstrating the cost-savings of personalized medicine in a large acute care hospital.

"We will examine patients' healthcare utilization to prove how effective our program can be," Kim said in a statement. "Through the development of secure and scalable technologies, as well as a personalized model of patient care, we hope to demonstrate that our model of personalized medicine can be adopted by other health care providers across the province as an innovative and cost-effective way to enhance the health of Ontarians."

The Ontario Research Fund is providing a third of the funding, with the remainder provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific and donors to the London Health Sciences Foundation. Lawson is the research institute of LHSC.