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New Personalized Medicine Division

Offering Customized Care

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 unique patient.

“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.”

The 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.

The commitment 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 Campus.

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.

With personalized 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.

With 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.”