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Roswell Park will lead $5.1 million gene-sequencing effort funded by state initiative

by jmaloni
Mon, Dec 12th 2011 10:15 am

Effort will examine genetic factors in common diseases and advance field of personalized medicine

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute Genome Project was approved Thursday as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative. RPCI will lead this project, which will compile and analyze the detailed genetic data (the "genomes") of Western New York citizens. This will significantly enhance the ability to develop personalized, more effective medical care plans and treatments for citizens of Western New York and beyond.

The $5.1 million award for the RPCI Genome Project covers the two-year pilot phase of the project. During this phase of the project, 1,000 area residents will be asked to donate a blood sample and provide detailed medical information; all these data will be collected in a fully protected way to ensure the privacy of all participants. The Genome Project will examine genetic factors that play a role in cancer as well as common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

RPCI President and CEO Dr. Donald L. Trump and Deputy Director Dr. Candace Johnson will lead the RPCI Genome Project as co-principal investigators. Partners include the University at Buffalo, Kaleida Health, the Catholic Health System and Erie County Medical Center, as well as the three major health insurers in Western New York (HealthNow/BlueCross BlueShield, Independent Health and Univera Healthcare), The P2 Collaborative and HEALTHeLINK.

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute Genome Project was championed by WNY Regional Economic Development Council co-chairs Satish K. Tripathi (University at Buffalo president) and Howard A. Zemsky, managing partner of Larkin Development Group, along with Andrew Rudnick, president of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Health & Life Sciences Co-Chair for the local council.

"Together, they ably and energetically oversaw the maturation and development of this proposal, working closely with RPCI at every stage," Trump said. "We are grateful for the leadership they, Governor Cuomo, and all the members of the Western New York Regional Council have provided through this ambitious development program, and eagerly look forward to implementing this effort."

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in upstate New York. The institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI's website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email [email protected].

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