Most physicians will argue all medicine is personal, but until now, they have lacked the patient-level, molecular diagnostic data to treat with precise interventions, and when necessary, manage disease from a better-informed perspective. Technological advances are enabling physicians to see true patient-to-patient differences based on objective biochemical measures, not symptoms and other subjective information. Patient-specific clinical decision tools and expanding intervention options are enabling a degree of precision in treating the underlying cause of disease, not just the symptoms.
Precision medicine is being driven and enabled by technological convergence. Computing and sequencing technology have been driving the cost of DNA sequencing downward at a rate much faster than Moore’s law, and we are approaching the $1,000 genome. Cloud computing, clinically annotated specimen collections, and publically supported data repositories have enabled groups of researchers to decipher meaning from the rapidly expanding universe of genetic information, enabling more FDA approved companion diagnostics and nucleic acid-based tests to come to market. Advances in medical imaging are allowing us to see things that are small, things that are moving, and even interactions between molecules, creating a parallel universe of expanding rich information content from medical images. The medical research community has begun to build repository infrastructure for the clinically annotated medical imaging data that our clinical research community is producing. Through the power of cloud- and crowd-based computing, scientists can now combine medical image information and genetic information to more thoroughly query subtle but important differences in disease between patients that was never possible before. Private sector investments in machine learning, artificial intelligence tools, and cognitive computing are rapidly accelerating productive use of -omic, image, and even remotely collected, real-time continuous health information. The tools of precision medicine have finally broken a human’s intellectual speed limit in seeing patterns in such complex information sets, and computing is generating insights.
The goal of the Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine (TCAG2M) is to apply genetics and genomic biology to improve healthcare delivery for the people of Arizona. TCAG2M supports outstanding translational and clinical research into the etiology of disease, and the development of new approaches to manage these conditions in the clinic. To achieve this goal, TCAG2M has created divisions in cancer genetics, cardiopulmonary genetics, genetic consultation and counseling, community engagement, genome technologies and innovation, pharmacogenomics, and population genetics to advance our translational and clinical agenda.
The Center is headquartered at University of Arizona Health Sciences and is tightly connected to the health science colleges in Tucson and Phoenix, as well as various colleges and core facilities throughout the University. TCAG2M facilitates precision health at the University of Arizona through several key ways:
- Bringing clinicians and researchers together to foster collaborative research programs.
- Sponsoring regular seminars to inform researchers, students, clinicians and the public about recent advances in precision health.
- Support for educational programs in genetic counseling.
- Encouraging strong core facilities to foster genetics and genomics research, including the University of Arizona Genetics Core and the University of Arizona Biorepository.
- Working with industry leaders to advance precision health research at the University of Arizona.