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Salt Lake City VAMC Genomic Medicine Building

May 7th, 2019 | Blog | Share
Salt Lake City VAMC Genomic Medicine

Paradigm recently provided complete design services for the Genomic Medicine Building at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is an exciting project, since genomic medicine has so much potential to help in the fight against various diseases, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

So, what is genomic medicine? It starts with the Human Genome Project. An international team of scientists and researchers worked together on this project until, in 2003, they had successfully mapped all of our human genes, which together are known as the genome.

Genomic medicine, then, involves utilizing information about the human genome in medical practice. This knowledge gives scientists the promise of being able to develop more effective, personalized treatments for many conditions. Often called precision medicine or personalized medicine, healthcare providers can use this information to optimize individual patient treatment. This is already happening with cancers of the lung, colon, and blood, with hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition in which iron builds up in the body, and with measuring veterans’ responses to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

In addition, the Veterans Administration has launched other genome-related programs.

In 2011, the Million Veteran Program (MVP) was initiated. This national research program asks veterans to volunteer DNA samples and health information in order to build a secure database of genetic information and to study how genes affect health. As of August 2018, more than 690,000 Veterans have enrolled in the program.

At the Cancer Moonshot Summit at Howard University in 2016, Vice President Joe Biden challenged Federal agencies to work together on cancer research in order to find helpful results more quickly. The APOLLO network was created as a result, with three agencies, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Department of Defense (DoD), and the VA, partnering together on proteogenomics research.

APOLLO stands for the Applied Proteogenomics OrganizationaL Learning and Outcomes network. Proteogenomics is the study of the layer beneath DNA, proteins. This is important because, as the NCI explains, proteins are the “workhorses” of human cells, and understanding the proteome is also important in understanding the genome.

With three Federal agencies working together on cancer-related research, the APOLLO network is able to study a wider variety of patients – currently 8,000 annotated human tissue specimens – and analyze the results.

Clearly, genomic medicine is already beneficially impacting patients. In the future, genomic medicine may even help scientists eradicate diseases like cancer. Paradigm is proud to be a part of the cutting edge of medicine and science with our work on the Salt Lake City VAMC’s Genomic Medicine Building.

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