California Funding Demonstrations

Two demonstration projects have been selected by the new California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine launched by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.  The initiative is hosted by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), in conjunction with UC Health comprised of the University of California’s five medical centers.

Both demo projects involve extensive collaborations within the UC system and with other academic medical centers in California as well as patient advocates and companies in Silicon Valley and the biotech industry.

One of the winning demonstrations titled “California Kids Cancer Comparison”  is being led by David Haussler, PhD, Professor of Bio-molecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, and Theodore Goldstein, PhD, Research Associate also at University of California Santa Cruz. The project involves harnessing big data bioinformatics to help doctors identify effective treatments for California children with cancer who fail to respond to standard therapies.

The demonstration will enable clinicians to sort through a much larger pool of genetic data than has previously been available, including tumor sequencing data from children throughout the state and around the world, as well as from adults.

The project will also enable patients, advocates, clinicians and researchers to upload, analyze, and communicate genomic information plus associated data through MedBook, a social media platform.

The project includes investigators from UC Irvine, UCSF, Stanford University, as well as the University of Southern California, and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium that includes UCLA and UCSD, and UC Davis

Hyundai Cancer Institute at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute will also take part. In addition, the project includes industry partners as NuMedii, Cisco Systems , and DNAnexus .

The second winning demonstration led by Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine at UCSF, aims to use genetic sequencing to diagnose patients who are hospitalized with acute and potentially life threatening infectious diseases.

The research laboratory has developed a novel powerful DNA sequencing scheme that can detect all pathogens with a single test. This test can rapidly and accurately diagnose infections in a number of patients, and was proven to be critical in saving the life of a 14 year old boy with bacterial encephalitis.

This demonstration will be validated at three University of California medical centers with patients with encephalitis, meningitis, sepsis, or pneumonia. Genetic data from the tests will be integrated into patients’ medical records, plus an around-the-clock precision medicine consult team will be available to interpret results and guide treatments.

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