According to the NIH, "Genomic medicine is an emerging medical discipline that involves using genomic information about an individual as part of their clinical care (e.g. for diagnostic or therapeutic decision-making) and the health outcomes and policy implications of that clinical use."
In 2018, Duke University was awarded six grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute, a part of the NIH. Two of the grants will total about $9 million over the next 5 years. The first grant establishes the Duke Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine. The second supports a Duke initiative to gather the family medical histories of low-income patients and assess their inherited risk of certain diseases.
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The Duke Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine will be directed by Geoffrey Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D. It will work in partnership with the Duke Clinical Research Institute, as the coordinating center for a national initiative to move genomic medicine into broader clinical practice.
In an article for Duke Health, Ginsburg stated, “Genomic medicine has great potential to improve health, but its widespread implementation has been hampered by the lack of evidence of its clinical utility...These new pragmatic genomic medicine clinical trials will provide that evidence.”
The Center’s Three Main Areas of focus:
- Innovative discovery and translational research to discover novel genome-inspired technologies and molecular profiles (biomarkers) for risk prediction, diagnosis, and prognosis.
- Implementation of science strategies and programsfor genome-inspired technologies and molecular profiles, the dissemination of best practices for the implementation of these technologies into the health care environment.
- Education programs for trainees, providers, and patients on how best to apply genomic knowledge to the day-to-day care of Duke patients and for similar programs locally, nationally and internationally.
The second grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute will fund one of the genomic network’s research projects. The principal investigator is Lori Orlando, M.D. She is also an Associate Director of the Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University. Orlando and her team will gather medical histories and assess patient’s inherited risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases.
“Family health history is the most important and most readily available predictor of disease risk we have. Yet, it is broadly underutilized in clinical practice. Our study is building a platform that will help providers follow evidence -based guidelines for risk management,” Orlando stated in the same Duke Health article. “We believe this platform will help individuals who live in areas that don’t have easy access to genetic counseling or genetic testing.”
Resources at the Duke Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine include:
- Clinical Genomic Studies Unit which provides the infrastructure and operational excellence to support translational research in genome and implementation sciences.
- Diagnostic Development Laboratory which brings together expertise in molecular microbiology with genome sciences to develop next-generation diagnostic tests.
- BioBank, supporting biobanking activities including IRB, sample collection, processing, storage, bar-coded chain of custody and e-inventory management.
- Data Science and Analytics which provides support for data management and integration, informatics, and statistical analyses on complex ‘-omics’ and clinical datasets.
The other four grant awards from the National Human Genome Research Institute totaled $3,033617. Duke University has received 824 NIH grants for a total of $459,778,087 in 2018.
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