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NorthShore to Participate in Largest Research Project in U.S. History


7/7/16 - As a member of the Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium (IPMC) – a component of the White House’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) – NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) will be awarded $2.3 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enroll 9,000 NorthShore patients into this unprecedented, nationwide genomic research initiative. The IPMC is part of a wider $55 million federal set of awards under the PMI in support of reaching the goal of enrolling 1 million people to improve our ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual lifestyle, environment and genetics.

 “Participation in the federal PMI will strengthen the wide array of genomic medicine programs NorthShore already has in place,” said Pablo Gejman, MD, principal investigator of the NorthShore IPMC site and member of the IPMC’s Steering Committee and Emerging Scientific Opportunities Committee.

 Dr. Gejman also directs the NorthShore Genomic Health Initiative (GHI) that launched in 2014 and is designed to investigate genetic variations contributing to both rare and common diseases. Diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease -- all of which are shaped by various genetic and environmental factors -- are a few examples of such common diseases. NorthShore’s GHI has enrolled more than 12,000 participants in two years.

 “This is a major step forward, widening the scope of research at a national level and providing an opportunity to not only study DNA, but also variation biomarkers that will allow researchers a look at markers for disease state,” said Dr. Gejman. NorthShore’s involvement in the IPMC is one part of NorthShore’s broader personalized medicine initiative and is one of the most comprehensive programs in the country. The program is focused on analyzing an individual’s health history and unique genomic characteristics to better predict, prevent or diagnose a number of diseases and develop tailored therapies.

 The pioneering work in personalized medicine at NorthShore is transforming the way health care professionals practice medicine through genomic research and technology. Within the Center for Personalized Medicine, NorthShore has taken the lead in applying the latest clinical advances to patient care, offering specialized care for conditions such as cancer and heart disease, and a pharmacogenomics clinic that provides genetic testing to help predict how individual patients will respond to certain drugs.

“Volunteers who enroll in NorthShore’s PMI study will be asked to share a wide-range of health, environment, and lifestyle information. They will also contribute blood and urine samples, and grant access to their electronic health records. In addition, mobile health devices and apps will provide lifestyle data and environmental exposures in real time. All of this will be accomplished with essential privacy and security safeguards in place,” said Dr. Alan Sanders, a senior investigator at NorthShore.

NorthShore is working with their partner institution University of Chicago and other health care provider organizations that form the IPMC.

Visit the NIH’s PMI Cohort Program website to learn more about the program and sign up for updates.