By Mark Couch
A newly established center at the University of Colorado Anschutz
Medical Campus will harness the power of big data to deliver targeted
care that is specific to individual patients.
The Center for
Personalized Medicine and Bioinformatics, and a similarly named division
in the Department of Medicine, aim to give physicians and researchers a
deeper understanding of disease while helping fine-tune care for each
“We will develop a clinical arm within the
division that moves molecules and molecular discoveries into the
clinic,” says David Schwartz, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine.
“It will allow us to prognosticate whether patients are at risk and to
develop treatments that are moretailored to their particular disease.”
center is an ambitious effort to create a critical core of faculty,
expand intellectual expertise and build infrastructure that will
support faculty research and discoveries in personalized medicine. The
investment and administrative structure will allow researchers and
physicians access to data to better understand disease and disease
development, how to provide care specific to patients and how to measure
the efficiency and effectiveness of that care.
represents a combined investment of more than $50 million from
Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado Health, University Physicians Inc., the School of Medicine, the
Department of Medicine and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical
The School has already attracted researchers Catherine
Lozupone, PhD, Subhajyoti De, PhD, Anna Peljto, PhD, and Colleen Julian,
PhD, who are all assistant professors in the new Division of
Personalized Medicine and Bioinformatics.
genomic data, scientists and physicians hope to customize care so that
it is designed to fit each individual patient. The use of electronic
medical records and personalized genomic data allows researchers and
clinicians to work together to select treatments that increase chances
of a positive outcome.
“It will change the way we take care of
patients, it will change the product the patients see and it should
improve the quality of care patients get,” Schwartz says.
genetic information that is now available about patients and with
advances in technology, the tools are available, but substantial effort
is required to make the immense amount of data usable.
“We are at a
unique crossroads in biomedical research that should allow us to move
discoveries into patient care at an increasingly rapid rate,” Schwartz
says. “The vision for personalized medicine is clear and attainable, and
the critical technology has been developed. Our ultimate success,
however, will be determined by our ability to infuse this vision across
the entire Anschutz Medical Campus.”