Introducing the Partnership for Personalized Medicine in Florida

By Deborah Robison
February 8, 2012
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Sanford-Burnham, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Florida Hospital announced today that they will collaborate to create a Personalized Medicine Partnership of Florida (PMP Florida). The partnership will conduct research to speed up discovery and develop new treatments in the areas of cancer and metabolic diseases, including obesity, diabetes,  and cardiovascular disease.

The organizations will utilize new molecular and genomic technologies to discover, translate, and personalize interventions for preventing and treating diseases more efficiently to improve outcomes, while reducing costs. The partnership will speed up the discovery and development of new treatments by bringing together the complementary strengths of Florida Hospital’s large patient population and clinical research expertise; Sanford-Burnham’s fundamental research expertise and technology platforms; and Moffitt’s biospecimen bank (samples of tissue, cells, blood, etc.), data warehouse, and personalized medicine capabilities.

“As a statewide resource for cancer research and treatment, Moffitt seeks to foster relationships such as this one to maximize the state’s investment in the overall health and well-being of patients,” said William S. Dalton, CEO and center director of Moffitt. “We feel this partnership will enhance Florida’s national and international reputation in the discovery, translation, delivery and dissemination of care.”

Moffitt’s approach, called Total Cancer Care™, is a treatment path that begins by mapping the more than 30,000 genes making up a tumor to find its unique genetic fingerprint. Through personalized medicine, Moffitt is working to create individualized therapies specific to each patient’s type of cancer.

“PMP Florida is a model for combining research and clinical-care expertise to advance personalized care. Sanford-Burnham will deploy our most advanced technologies to discover molecular signatures of disease that can provide insight for determining appropriate therapeutic interventions,” said John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham’s CEO. “The technology platforms, collections of patient samples, and medical information sharing create a powerful combination for improving patient outcomes and reducing costs.”

Through PMP Florida, researchers at the partnering institutions will access a robust research and clinical care infrastructure. Bio-samples representing a variety of diseases are available from Florida Hospital’s extensive patient population. Pilot projects will utilize Moffitt’s genome mapping, information systems, and clinical research protocols. The research will be empowered by Sanford-Burnham’s scientific expertise in genomics and metabolomics technology platforms.

“PMP Florida is a unique partnership including three organizations with very complementary areas of expertise and experience,” said David Moorhead, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at Florida Hospital. “Moffitt has demonstrated world class experience and competency in acquiring, categorizing, and storing biologic specimens. Sanford-Burnham is renowned for its internationally recognized scientific faculty, multiple sophisticated diagnostic platforms and a commitment to transforming basic science research into clinically available treatments. Florida Hospital is the largest hospital in Florida with broad, innovative and superior clinical expertise. Together, our organizations will have the potential to quickly and successfully advance the scientific development and availability of personalized medicine and to benefit the economic development of our communities.”

One of the objectives of the partnership is to attract industry clients, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies, who will want to utilize this unique resource for discovery and development of new advances in health care. This partnership will exemplify how personalized medicine discoveries made in research labs will improve health care in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices in Florida and nationally.

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