[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 31-Jan-2013
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Contact: Lauren Woods
Law2014@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College

New Institute for Precision Medicine created at Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian

Dr. Mark Rubin, leading prostate cancer and genomics expert, to lead cutting-edge center for targeted, individualized patient care based on each patient's genetics

NEW YORK (Jan. 31, 2013) -- Recognizing that medicine is not "one size fits all," Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have created the pioneering Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. This new, cutting-edge translational medicine research hub will explore the new frontier of precision medicine, offering optimal targeted, individualized treatment based on each patient's genetic profile. The institute's new genomic research discoveries will help develop novel, personalized medical therapies to be tested in innovative clinical trials, while also building a comprehensive biobank to improve research and patient care.

The Institute for Precision Medicine will be led by Dr. Mark Rubin, a renowned pathologist and prostate cancer expert who uses whole genomic sequencing in his laboratory to investigate DNA mutations that lead to disease, particularly prostate cancer. Dr. Rubin currently serves as vice chair for experimental pathology, director of Translational Research Laboratory Services, the Homer T. Hirst III Professor of Oncology, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and professor of pathology in urology at Weill Cornell and is a pathologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

Dr. Rubin and his team seek to replace the traditional one-size-fits-all medicine paradigm with one that focuses on targeted, individualized patient care using a patient's own genetic profile and medical history. Physician-scientists at the institute will seek to precisely identify the genetic influencers of a patient's specific illness -- such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease and others -- and use this genetic information to design a more-effective course of treatment that targets those specific contributing factors. Also, genomic analyses of tumor tissue will enable researchers to help patients with advanced disease and no current treatment options, as well as to isolate the causes of drug resistance in patients who stop responding to treatments, redirecting them to more successful therapies.

Preventive precision medicine will also be a key initiative at the institute, allowing physician-scientists to help identify a patient's risk of diseases and take necessary steps to aid in its prevention through medical treatment and/or lifestyle modification. In addition, the Institute for Precision Medicine will leverage an arsenal of innovative genomic sequencing, biobanking and bioinformatics technology to transform the existing paradigm for diagnosing and treating patients.

"This institute will revolutionize the way we treat disease, linking cutting-edge research and next-generation sequencing in the laboratory to the patient's bedside," Dr. Rubin says. "We will use advanced technology and the collective wealth of knowledge from our clinicians, basic scientists, pathologists, molecular biologists and computational biologists to pinpoint the molecular underpinnings of disease -- information that will spur the discovery of novel treatments and therapies. It's an exciting time to be involved in precision medicine and I look forward to advancing this game-changing field of medicine."

"Precision medicine is the future of medicine, and its application will help countless patients," says Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "The Institute for Precision Medicine, with Dr. Rubin's expertise and strong leadership, will accelerate our understanding of the human genome, provide key insights into the causes of disease and enable our physician-scientists to translate this knowledge from the lab to the clinical setting to help deliver personalized treatments to the sickest of our patients."

Three main resources will facilitate the institute's groundbreaking precision medicine work: genomics sequencing, biobanking and bioinformatics. Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian will invest in state-of-the-art technology to conduct sequencing, a more expansive biobank for all patient specimens and tissue samples and dedicated bioinformaticians who will closely analyze patient data, searching for genetic mutations and other abnormalities to identify and target with treatment.

"The Institute for Precision Medicine will enable our doctors to tailor effective treatments for individual patients and also predict the diseases that are likely to affect a patient long before they develop," says Dr. Steven J. Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "By harnessing the full potential of our enhanced understanding of the human genome, and extending its reach into the clinical realm, the institute will transform patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and beyond."

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Dr. Rubin

Dr. Rubin the institute's inaugural director, is a board-certified pathologist and physician-scientist with specific expertise in genitourinary pathology and an internationally recognized leader in prostate cancer genomics and biomarker research. His groundbreaking research investigating molecular biomarkers distinguishing indolent from aggressive disease has led to landmark discoveries that revolutionized the understanding of prostate cancer's molecular underpinnings. This includes co-discovering two of the most common mutations in prostate cancer, the TMPRSS2-ETS rearrangements and SPOP mutations.

Dr. Rubin is one of the "Dream Team" principal investigators of a multi-institutional $10 million grant from Stand Up 2 Cancer (SU2C) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, addressing patients with advanced prostate cancer through a multi-phase approach employing next generation sequencing to help inform the direction of future clinical trials. Additionally, Dr. Rubin serves as a co-principal investigator on the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) Biomarker Discovery Laboratory and worked for many years as part of the NCI Prostate Cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE).

Dr. Rubin has authored more than 275 peer-reviewed publications, predominantly in prostate cancer, and holds multiple NCI-funded grants in prostate cancer genomics and biomarker development. He is a member of the World Health Organization Prostate Cancer Tumor Classification and the Prostate TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) Working Group. He serves as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple publications including Nature, Science, Cancer Cell, Cancer Discovery and The New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Rubin also serves as the chair of the EDRN Prostate Cancer Working Group and is a member of the ERDN Steering Committee. He is active in the NCI/NHGRI-sponsored TCGA serving on the Prostate Cancer Working Group and he is an external advisor for the Canadian International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC). He served on the NCI Cancer Biomarker Study Section for five years and as an ad hoc reviewer for other NCI and international granting organizations.

Dr. Rubin is the recipient of the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists Annual Prize (2003), the Young Investigator Award (2004) given by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology and the Huggins Medal (2012), the highest award bestowed by the Society of Urologic Oncology. Finally, Dr. Rubin was a co-team leader with his long-term collaborator, Arul M. Chinnaiyan (University of Michigan) for the first annual American Association of Cancer Research Team Science Award (2007) in recognition for their groundbreaking work on TMPRSS2-ETS fusion prostate cancer.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,409 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including 12,797 deliveries and 195,294 visits to its emergency departments. NewYork-Presbyterian's 6,144 affiliated physicians and 19,376 staff provide state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.

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