UCSF, Governor Brown Announce New Precision Medicine Projects

By Laura Kurtzman

Continuing California’s groundbreaking effort to better treat and prevent diseases through advanced computing, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and UC San Francisco (UCSF) today announced six new projects have been selected for the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM).  

“These grant winners will harness the power of advanced computing to better treat and prevent diseases,” said Governor Brown.

Precision medicine aims to use data-driven tools and analysis to develop new diagnostics, therapies and insights into disease. Last year, California became the first state in the nation to launch a precision medicine initiative when Governor Brown announced the creation of CIAPM. Through this program, California is developing demonstration projects that harness the power of advanced computing to better diagnose, treat and prevent disease for all Californians.

“What an exciting time to be a Californian,” said Atul Butte, MD, PhD, director of the UCSF Institute for Computational Health Sciences, professor of pediatrics and principal investigator of CIAPM. “With these state resources, we are helping to launch six exciting projects in precision medicine, bringing together academics, physicians, small and large businesses, and patients. These projects cover individuals who are healthy and ill, from the youngest to the oldest, and make use of the latest mobile, imaging, wearable and deep learning technologies, all to push the boundaries of what is possible in medicine.”

The six projects announced today were selected following a rigorous assessment by a selection committee of national and internationally recognized experts in genomics, statistics, ethics, cancer, computation and other sciences. Over twenty organizations – from academia, the private sector, patient advocacy, hospital systems and entrepreneurs – will be partnering to complete these projects, which will use research, clinical, environmental and population data to better diagnose, treat and prevent disease. These projects include efforts to:

  • Improve the early treatment of prostate cancer through a complex assessment of patient characteristics, cancer severity indicators and genomics.
  • Help patients better manage chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and depression, by gathering personal health data through their mobile phones.
  • Speed the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, stroke or aneurysm by applying state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology to computed tomography (CT) scanning.
  • Create a catalogue of DNA variants to better understand harmful mutations and better identify the causes of disease in children that suffer from difficult to diagnosis conditions.
  • Combine several types of clinical data and real-time patient data in an interactive tool that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and doctors can use to better predict how the disease may develop over time and what can be done to improve outcomes.
  • More quickly identify the early signs of cardiovascular disease by, among other activities, providing patients with specialized watches that transmit sleep, heart rate and other health data to their doctors. 

UC Health and UCSF host CIAPM with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Each grant awardee is eligible for up to $1.2 million in grant funding, which will then be leveraged with other non-state funding sources to complete the projects. In addition to developing demonstration projects, CIAPM is conducting an inventory of California’s vast technological and medical resources that make precision medicine possible. The 2016 Budget Act includes approximately $10 million for the CIAPM.

For more information about the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, including further details on selected projects, visit http://www.CIAPM.org.

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area.