By Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager
Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) recently made headlines by announcing the opening of its brand new Center for Personalized Medicine (CPM). The CPM is a new facility that uses state-of-the-art “next-generation” genetic sequencing tools to decipher people’s individual genetic codes. The facility and its research will support the development of targeted medical therapies that are custom-tailored to a person’s unique genetic characteristics.
The Center is the result of an impressive public-private-partnership. Kick-started by a $5.1 million grant from New York State, awarded through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s WNY Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), Roswell Park has invested an additional $16 million in equipment and infrastructure. Further adding to the collaborative nature of this Center, Buffalo-based Computer Task Group (CTG) has pledged $2.5 million to provide electronic medical records expertise and bioinformatics/clinical analytics support services. CTG, a board-level investor in Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, is a leading developer of bioinformatics computing and software.
This announcement is especially exciting for me personally (pun only slightly intended), as I had the pleasure of leading the WNY REDC’s Health/Life Sciences Work Group that identified the CPM as a “priority project” for the REDC to recommend for funding. Working closely with RPCI President & CEO Dr. Donald Trump and Deputy Director Dr. Candace Johnson was a rewarding experience, but having the opportunity to witness this vision come to fruition barely 12 months later is far more gratifying.
The Center is utilizing 5,000 square feet of space in RPCI’s Center for Genetics and Pharmacology at 645 Virginia Street on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It will have 21 staff members to start, growing to 42, along with 35 faculty members. Click here to read RPCI’s CPM fact sheet (pdf). The Center’s mission encompasses both research and clinical applications.
The CPM has the capacity to sequence more than 300 complete genomes per year. This is a staggering number considering the original Human Genome Project took 13 years and $2.7 billion to complete the first human genome sequence. Less than 10 years later, the technology has advanced to the point where the CPM can sequence over 300 genomes at a tiny fraction of the time and cost.