Newswise — A team led by Andrew Godwin, PhD, deputy director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center and director of molecular oncology in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, has been awarded a five-year, $11.4 million National Institutes of Health phase I Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant to establish the Kansas Institute for Precision Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
“Precision medicine has the potential to change the landscape of how we provide care,” said Robert Simari, MD, executive vice chancellor for the University of Kansas Medical Center. “Receiving a grant of this size is remarkable and will enable our researchers to develop tailored treatments for all types of diseases. This approach aligns with the university’s mission to improve lives through innovation in research and health care.”
The objective of the Kansas Institute for Precision Medicine (KIPM) is to advance the use of precision medicine, an approach that considers individual differences in people’s genes, environments and lifestyles to identify effective therapies.
“The University of Kansas Cancer Center has made precision medicine a research priority. With this grant, our efforts are strengthened and we can infuse the concept of precision medicine throughout our institution and region,” said Roy Jensen, MD, KU Cancer Center director.
Dr. Godwin’s 30-year scientific career has centered on aspects of precision medicine as it relates to cancer. Biomedical engineer Steven Soper, PhD, Foundation Distinguished Professor in the departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering, will serve as associate director. Together, they have collaborated on the development of precision medicine tools including lab-on-a-chip technology.
The COBRE grant also enables the team to develop a mentoring program, led by physician-scientist Alan Yu, MB, B.Chir., director of KU Medical Center’s Kidney Institute, that prepares early-career investigators to compete successfully for additional NIH research grants. COBRE grants can be renewed for up to three phases – representing up to approximately $34 million in funding and support for numerous junior as well as more seasoned investigators through annual pilot grants.
“Our success will ultimately be measured by the number of early-career investigators who successfully develop independently NIH-funded research programs,” Dr. Godwin said. “As team members are funded, we will recruit new trainees. Over time, using the various funding mechanisms available through the KIPM COBRE, our pool of precision medicine experts will grow.”
The grant also supports a research infrastructure for the team, including four core facilities: quantitative “omics,” biobanking and biomarker validation, biomedical engineering and patient and community engagement.