Friday, July 10, 2015

The New York Genome Center Uses DNA Research to Develop Personalized Cancer Treatments

human genome model, dna model for research
NYGC is at the forefront of research into the human genome, or the complete set of nucleic acid sequence encoded as DNA.
Image: Shutterstock
The New York Genome Center (NYGC) is at the forefront of research into the human genome. Leaders in technology, science, and medicine form this consortium. Their goal is to combine genomic data and industrial innovation into treatments for people suffering from serious disease. Business leaders like NYGC Board of Directors member William Ford, CEO of General Atlantic, provide the insight and experience required to discover, build, and maintain productive partnerships.

Each human cell contains our genome. Composed of DNA, the genome contains instructions for making our bodies. Strands of DNA form chromosomes, found in the nucleus of each cell. Our genes are sections of DNA within our chromosomes and control traits like eye color and height. The human genome is made of 3.2 billion bases of DNA. Enough data to fill a stack of paperback books reaching 200 feet high.

Vast amount of scientific research into cancer is being conducted and published each year. “The real challenge before us is how to make sense of massive quantities of genetic data and translate that information into better treatments for patients,” said Robert Darnell, M.D., Ph.D., CEO, President and Scientific Director of the NYGC.

Traditionally an oncologist searching for a DNA-based treatment for a patient’s specific type of cancer would have to invest crushing amounts of time and money coordinating reams of data to find the right treatment. Luckily the clouds have parted and there is hope on the horizon. That hope is based on the cloud computing capacity of IBM Watson working in partnership with the NYGC’s data. “Applying the cognitive computing power of Watson is going to revolutionize genomics and accelerate the opportunity to improve outcomes for patients with deadly diseases by providing personalized treatment.”

The Human Genome Project (HGP) completed the mapping of the human genome n 2001. This data provides detailed information about the structure and organization of a complete set of human genes. "It's a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it's a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease," said Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

For more information about the New York Genome Center and the innovative work it does, visit