A new research agreement between Human Longevity Inc. and UC San Diego, announced Wednesday, represents a significant step in efforts to research and translate the potential of the human genome into treatments able to change and improve the human condition.
“This agreement brings together the resources of two entities that, in combination, may ultimately help improve countless lives,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of health sciences at UC San Diego and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
“HLI aims to bring leading-edge thinking in genomics technologies. UC San Diego boasts some of the world’s finest researchers and physicians working at places like the Moores Cancer Center. Together, we will collaborate to marshal the people, the tools and the resources to really make a difference in human health.”
HLI’s goal is to initially sequence up to 40,000 human genomes per year, rising to 100,000 genomes annually. The data generated by HLI will be used to investigate and develop treatments for a wide array of diseases, from diabetes and obesity to conditions of the heart and liver, plus ailments related to aging and biological decline.
The initial focus of the effort at UC San Diego will be cancer.
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center (MCC) will work with HLI to develop protocols and procedures to conduct comprehensive genomic sequencing of consenting MCC patients. The resulting sequence data will be analyzed by UC San Diego scientists implementing both experimental and computational approaches.
“This is ground-breaking research,” said Scott Lippman, MD, director of MCC and the agreement’s principal investigator.
“The therapeutic promise of genomics is far-reaching. Gathering the genomic data is the first step of the research process. Cancer is a target-rich environment and current pace at which genomics discoveries are moving from the lab to the clinic is unprecedented. Being able to sequence at this scale, with this depth of detail and complexity, will accelerate discovery and make it easier to translate these findings to benefit our patients.”
Razelle Kurzrock, MD, who will serve as co-principal investigator and is senior deputy director for clinical science at MCC, emphasized that this partnership provides an unparalleled opportunity to understand the immense complexity of cancers.
“While the work is completely within the research realm right now, this visionary initiative is anticipated to rapidly yield transformative discoveries in the cancer field.”
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is home to more than 350 medical and radiation oncologists, cancer surgeons, and researchers. It is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country, a rare honor distinguishing exceptionally high achievement in research, clinical care, education and community outreach and partnerships. For more information, visit cancer.ucsd.edu.