A multi-million dollar expansion at Vermont’s largest hospital could bring human genome sequencing closer to reality.
The University of Vermont Medical Center unveiled its new $2.7 million genomic medicine laboratory Friday in Burlington.
Genomic medicine uses a patient’s genetic information to inform the care that doctors provide them.
The 5,000 square foot lab consolidates genomic testing into one laboratory space.
The lab technicians separate, copy and sequence DNA in three phases across three rooms.
The process can provide targeted care to patients with certain kinds of cancers using information about the patient’s specific genetic makeup.
“There are many targeted treatments that are based on the specific change that is making that cancer cell grow. When you use that kind of treatment, it tends to have fewer side effects than the classic chemotherapy that kills any dividing cell in your body,” said Debra Leonard, MD, PhD, chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UVM Health Network and Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine.
In 2013, doctors at the UVM Medical Center set a 10-year goal of sequencing the human genome of every patient that enters the hospital.