Funding for a nearly $50 million project to create a center for genomic medicine in Buffalo – part of the Buffalo Billion initiative – won approval today from Empire State Development’s board of directors. The approval, which came in a vote Thursday, firms up funding for one of the key initiatives in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion plan that will link the supercomputing capacity at the University at Buffalo and medical researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute with more than a dozen New York medical, academic and industry partners to develop new treatments based on genomic medicine.
The vote Thursday not only approved $48 million in funding for the Buffalo portion of the initiative, but $57 million to support the creation of a similar center for genomic medicine in New York City.
“Genomic medicine is the next frontier in modern medicine and we want New York State to be the international center for genomic research, and lead the way in revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases,” Cuomo said.
The governor announced plans for the $102 million genomics research consortium during his State of the State address in January. The promise of genomic medicine is that patients in the future will have their genomes sequenced to find out what diseases they are at risk for and work with physicians on prevention strategies. It also appears likely that by recording and analyzing data from a large number of people, researchers can determine which patients will respond best to which treatments.
UB’s computer capacity is an important part of the initiative, allowing researchers access to power-computing tools that will allow them to analyze massive amounts of data more rapidly.