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Wow! Precision Medicine highlights and success

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Precision Medicine 2018 was a huge success! With excellent and informative presentations and unique opportunities for attendees to chat with colleagues and experts, this year’s virtual conference has become an integral part of research in the science community. Precision Medicine 2018 provided updates on new efforts in drug discoveries, developments in FDA regulatory structures, and the integration of genetics on disease progression.

Since precision medicine involves individual genetic information as well as environmental, behavioral, and clinical data, combining these factors allows researchers to put together a comprehensive view of each patient that aids in their search for precision approaches to health maintenance, disease prevention, and therapies.

Attendees of the on-demand 2018 virtual event will learn from industry experts on a range of topics, such as NGS applications and technology development, large-scale genomics data sets, large-scale sequencing efforts, pharmagenomics and drug development to name a few. Presentations on developments for diagnostic and treatment for diseases such as cancer and Crohn’s will also be available, all with the opportunity to earn Free Continuing Education (CE) and/or Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.

What not to miss…

niallKeynote Presentation by Niall Lennon, PhD, Senior Director of Translational Genomics and Product Development, Institute Scientist, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard: “Supporting Precision Medicine and Clinical Research at Scale – Challenges and Opportunities”

Precision medicine based on molecular profiling is moving from the realm of clinical utility studies towards standard of care. There remain, however, significant technological and implementation challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the widespread access to high complexity tests. These challenges include the provision of high quality, scalable assays that can be offered in clinically meaningful timeframes and at a cost that does not limit adoption. In addition, the computational and analytical environments must exist to host, compute, and deliver the increasingly large data sets created for each patient. There needs to be agreement on best practices and specifications for performance of secondary analysis tools (variant callers) across all classes of clinically meaningful variant categories, as well as education and training of a large network of variant review scientists, clinical geneticists, and molecular pathologists on variant interpretation and classification.

Niall J. Lennon has been working on NGS applications and technology development at the Broad for over 11 years. Most recently, Dr. Lennon oversaw the creation, certification and launch of a CLIA certified & CAP accredited laboratory within the Broad. He led the efforts to validate and implement a clinical Whole Exome sequencing test for both germline and somatic samples. Niall is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. Niall has received a Black Belt in Six Sigma for his work on process design and optimization. He also holds an executive certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

andresKeynote Presentation by Andres Hurtado-Lorenzo, PhD, Senior Director of Translational Research, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation: “Paving the Path Towards Precision Medicine in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases”

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis also known as inflammatory bowel diseases or IBD, are characterized by chronic, recurrent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which results from the interplay between genetic predisposition, altered immune response, intestinal microbial dysbiosis and environmental factors. The course of the disease is variable, with some patients having much more aggressive disease than others. Such variability in prognosis represents the difference between an excellent long-term outcome or progressive disability. Therefore, the main challenge in managing IBD is the early detection, ideally at diagnosis, of patients with potentially severe disease course and variability in treatment outcomes. If precision medicine is to be applied in IBD, it will require the stratification of patients with a high risk of relapse and complications, and better characterization of patients who may respond preferentially to specific therapies. This presentation highlights current advances towards the integration of clinical and molecular phenotypes for early prediction of complicated disease course at diagnosis and response to biological therapy, and the current efforts of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to build the largest biorepository and research exchange platform called IBD Plexus, focused on accelerating the path towards precision medicine in IBD.

Dr. Andrés Hurtado-Lorenzo is responsible for planning and oversight of the Foundation’s translational research portfolio that consists of a number research initiatives in the fields of: Precision Medicine, Genetics, Microbiome, Environmental Triggers, and Entrepreneurial Investing, a venture philanthropy initiative focused on accelerating product development in IBD. These initiatives aim to identify opportunities to translate observations in the laboratory and clinic into interventions that reach and benefit patients; from therapeutics and diagnostics to medical devices and procedures. Dr. Hurtado-Lorenzo is a translational scientist leader with previous proven success directing multidisciplinary teams focused on drug discovery and development for neurological diseases and rare diseases in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry (Wyeth, Pfizer, Proteostasis Therapeutics) from discovery to early clinical development. These efforts have resulted in the identification of candidate drugs currently evaluated in clinical trials.

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