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Lt. governor launches genetic research project at Roswell Park

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy was in Buffalo Wednesday to help launch Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s new Center for Personalized Medicine.

Researchers in the center are trying to decipher patients’ genes, with the idea that better tests and treatments can be targeted to their genetic abnormalities.

“I’m confident that it will result in a better, more effective and more appropriate patient care in Western New York for patients with cancer and many other diseases,” Roswell President Donald L. Trump said.

The project, located in Roswell Park’s Center for Genetics & Pharmacology on Virginia Street, received $5.1 million from the state in 2011 to help spur economic development.

In addition, Roswell Park has invested $16 million, much of it for a highly secure supercomputer and machines called sequencers to analyze patients’ genes.

The cancer center also is working closely with Computer Task Group, the Buffalo-based company that specializes in the installation of electronic medical record systems in hospitals.

CTG has pledged $2.5 million for the project. The Buffalo News reported on this new research in December.

“It’s a great public-private partnership,” Duffy said.

“The center is very exciting, because what it does is it brings all the talent and research in the medical field that we have here, looking at this whole new emerging field of human genetics. Roswell Park is a world-class institute with world-class talent, and this is just one more example of a great investment that will have an impact, not only on jobs locally, but most importantly on health and quality of life.”

Researchers here are investing initially in three initiatives:

• Breast cancer: This project will search for a way to determine which of two main types of standard chemotherapy works best for breast cancer.

• Bio-banking: With the aid of a mobile unit, an effort will begin to obtain blood samples and demographic and health information from hundreds of individuals representing the ethnic, racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity of the region to create a genetic profile of the community.

• Bladder cancer: In collaboration with Western New York Urology Associates, a large specialty group, another project will focus on developing a test based on genetic variations for earlier detection of superficial bladder cancer.

Roswell Park also is working closely with Computer Task Group to market a service that combines the institute’s ability to analyze the genetic differences in cancer patients with CTG’s expertise in medical records.