Dignity Health, CHI team up on Precision Medicine Alliance

Also on Monday, the Clinical & Translational Genome Research Institute opened at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Emergent Technologies Institute in Fort Myers, Florida.


Monday may turn out to be a watershed day for precision medicine.

Two major nonprofit integrated delivery networks, San Francisco-based Dignity Health and Englewood, Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives, have formed what they expect to be the largest precision medicine program in the nation.

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The Precision Medicine Alliance — a partnership formed as a limited liability corporation between the two health systems — will make genetics-based diagnosis and treatment available at almost 150 community hospitals. Those facilities collectively serve about 12 million patients a year.

Like several other precision medicine programs, this one will start with cancer.

Specifically, initial efforts of the Precision Medicine Alliance will be around diagnostic tumor profiling, the sponsoring organizations said. Eventually, the program will move into predicting risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as into pharmacogenomics.

Organizers said the partnership is aligned with the White House’s Precision Medicine Initiative. As such, it will have a strong IT backbone.

Alliance sponsors also said they will put together a cancer research database that they expect to become the largest store of clinical oncology data built by a single organization. The alliance will connect this database with electronic health records, clinical decision support and information on relevant clinical trials.

“Through the new Precision Medicine Alliance, use of genomics for diagnosis and treatments enables a new degree of precision for identifying the most effective treatment and/or clinical trial for each patient, as well as those treatments that would potentially be ineffective or harmful,” Catholic Health Initiatives CEO Kevin Lofton said in a press release.

“Through the program we will partner with laboratories and data solution companies nationwide to promote new clinical trial development and molecular tests to meet specific patient needs,” Lofton added.

Executives from CHI and Dignity Health were not available to speak directly with MedCity News on Monday.

Also on Monday, the Clinical & Translational Genome Research Institute opened at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Emergent Technologies Institute in Fort Myers, Florida.

That center is taking a different focus. The Clinical & Translational Genome Research Institute will first take aim at gene-drug interactions in adolescents and young adults, according to the News-Press in Fort Myers.

Other early work will seek to find new pain treatments for children and more effective drug dosing formulas for postoperative heart patients.

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