Two years in, Indiana University School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess says the school’s first Grand Challenges initiative is "already impacting the care we provide patients." The $120 million Precision Health effort has goals including curing one cancer and one childhood disease over the next decade through a focus on individualized medicine. The school says it has recruited 33 new research faculty from throughout the country and will soon start canvassing Indiana for a 2,000-person health study.
Precision Health leaders say they have built advanced research and clinical capabilities as they work toward goals of developing new treatments for triple negative breast cancer and multiple myeloma, curing more children with pediatric sarcoma, preventing the onset and progression of Type 2 diabetes and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers will approach that work by focusing on individual biological factors and treatment options for patients.
IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel says that input, specifically on social networks, is key to the initiative’s long-term success.
"People turn to their social networks to support their well-being, health and pathways to care, so it matters who is in your network," Robel said in a news release. "This unique approach will allow IU researchers to bring the voices and experiences of Indiana’s people into the Precision Health Initiative’s efforts to improve health."
IU announced the Precision Health Initiative as the inaugural winner of its $300 million Grand Challenges program in 2016. The effort is led by IU Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs Anantha Shekhar and involves partners including Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY), Roche Diagnostics, Cook Regentec, Deloitte, Regenstrief Institute and IU Health.
Last year, IU announced its latest Grand Challenges initiative: the $50 million Responding to the Addictions Crisis project, which it calls one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive state-based responses to the opioid epidemic.