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GMU Forms First in Kind Precision Medicine Alliance

Friday, May 9, 2014  
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Already at the forefront of personalized medicine, George Mason University has joined forces with Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the first of its kind alliance in the growing field of precision medicine––an approach that uses a patient’s molecular profile to personalize treatment and medications.

The TGen–George Mason Molecular Medicine Alliance builds upon expertise from both institutions. Mason has pioneered proteomics, or the study of proteins, while TGen is a world-leader in genomic, or DNA, research. Combined, proteomics and genomics delve into the underlying causes of disease and can pinpoint the best treatment for each patient.

“We are doing what others hope to do by combining truly best-in-class genomic analysis from TGen with best-in-class proteomic technologies and nanotechnologies from Mason,” says Emanuel “Chip” Petricoin, who co-founded the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine with Lance Liotta. “This synergistic combination is unmatched and the benefit directly goes to patients.”

The alliance already has submitted applications for more than $12 million in research grants for projects that each institution might not have pursued alone, but are now well positioned to accomplish by combining their complimentary expertise.

Swiftly moving research discoveries from the laboratory directly to patient care will be a hallmark of the alliance, Liotta says. “By working together, TGen and Mason can put research into practice and change the lives of patients and their families,” he says.

By integrating genomics and proteomics, the alliance will initially focus on discoveries in four specific areas of research:
  1. New treatments for patients with breast cancer or melanoma.
  2. Treatments for patients with breast cancer that has spread to the bone and brain.
  3. Biomarkers that can help diagnose traumatic injuries, such as brain concussions.
  4. Developing a better understanding of infectious diseases and the human immune system, leading to new vaccines.

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