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Precision Medicine News

Penn Precision Medicine Accelerator Doles Out $525K in Grants

Eight personalized medicine projects will split more than half a million dollars in grant funding from the Penn Precision Medicine Accelerator Fund.

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The Penn Center for Precision Medicine (PCMP) Accelerator Fund has divided $525,000 between eight promising personalized medicine projects addressing topics such as neurodegenerative diseases, infection control, cancer, and genetic variants.

Penn Precision Medicine Accelerator funds personalized medicine research projects

The awardees all hail from Penn Medicine, and have received up to $100,000 each to support their research into how precision medicine techniques can be applied to clinical care.

“All of our awardees are actively involved in everyday patient care and their projects promise to have a lasting impact on health care in general,” said David Roth, MD, PhD, director of the Center and chairman of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“By linking increasingly comprehensive patient physiological data, collected over time in health as well as in disease, precision medicine has the potential to transform translational research.”

Thirty-eight researchers from 16 departments within Penn Medicine are participating in the eight winning studies, chosen from a group of 36 applicants. 

Neurologist Alice Chen-Plotkin, MD, will use her award to create a panel of genetic markers to identify Parkinson’s disease patients who have an elevated risk of developing impulse control disorders, while Raina M. Merchant, MD, MSHP, FAHA, will explore how patient social media use could be used to identify clinically relevant behavioral patterns that could be integrated with an electronic health record.

Carsten C. Skarke, MD, plans to test whether tailored prehabilitation programs delivered through wearable devices and mHealth applications can improve outcomes and speed recovery for surgical patients. 

Translational medicine and human genetics expert Sony Tuteja, PharmD, MS, will use biobank data from 12,000 Penn patients to examine how actionable genetic variants impact reactions to certain drugs.

Additional studies will focus on clinical decision making, antimicrobial stewardship and prescribing protocols for infectious diseases, and proactively identifying patients with cartilage changes leading to knee pain.

PCMP was founded in January of 2016 with the goal of aligning emerging precision medicine techniques with routine care within the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

“We bring together an interdisciplinary team with expertise in data analysis, biostatistics and health economics to allow us to measure both biological (medical) and economic (cost and cost avoidance) outcomes. These measurements will be critical to evaluate the success of our efforts,” the Center says on its website.

“We hope to forge strong interconnections between the people who are making impactful scientific discoveries every day and the clinicians and clinical teams delivering outstanding care.”

The Center is currently seeking applications for its second funding opportunity.  Proposals are due February 1, 2017. 

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