Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announced the formation of the Wisconsin Genomics Initiative, a collaborative research effort between the Marshfield Clinic, Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), University of Wisconsin (Madison) School of Medicine and Public Health, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Doyle said the initiative could lead to the ability to predict who might develop a particular disease and how patients would respond to specific treatments.
He said that the research would not focus solely on treatment of disease, but also prevention and better management of chronic conditions. At the heart of the initiative is Marshfields Personalized Medicine Research Project, which contains DNA samples collected from some 20,000 volunteers and Marshfields databank containing 29 years worth of electronically stored patient medical histories.
Were doing work that is really going to revolutionize medicine, said Humberto Vidaillet Jr., director of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.
Doyle also noted how the University of Wisconsins leadership in stem cell research has led to spin-off companies developing within the state and predicted the genomics initiative will have the same effect. When asked what level of state and federal investment the initiative will require, Doyle replied, Frankly, the answer to that question is as much as we can get, but he added that, since the foundation for the effort is already in place, Were getting started without additional federal and state dollars.
The governor is extremely right, he said. Were not starting from scratch.
Doyles announcement coincided with the opening of Marshfield Clinics Laird Center for Medical Research, named after former U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, who, as a congressman from Wisconsin in the 1950s, co-authored legislation funding the construction of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. Now 86, and the uncle of Doyles wife, Jessica, Laird attended the news conference announcing the initiative and praised the work done by the doctors and nurses at Marshfield Clinic. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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