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NorthShore University HealthSystem Launches Comprehensive Center for Personalized Medicine, Ushering in New Era in Medical Care

EVANSTON, IL--(Marketwired - April 14, 2015) - NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) today launched one of the most comprehensive personalized medicine programs in the country that utilizes an individual's health history and DNA to better predict, prevent and diagnose certain diseases, and develop tailored therapies to fight them.

"We have known that identifying the health history of an individual's family can play a powerful role in early detection and prevention of disease," said Michael Caplan, MD, NorthShore's Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics. "Today, new and affordable genetic testing allows us to determine an individual's likelihood to develop disease and respond to specific treatments. Integrating genetic testing and analysis is akin to the discovery of the X-ray, uncovering a seismic new layer of knowledge that can predict, prevent and treat disease."

The pioneering Center for Personalized Medicine benefits patients in the following areas whether they are seeking a diagnosis and treatment or they would like to learn preventive health strategies related to risk factors:

  • Center for Medical Genetics - one of the largest and busiest adult genetic counseling centers in the country that incorporates genomic information with the latest genetic technology and information to provide personalized care;
  • Center for Molecular Medicine - translates research into clinical practice, using the power of DNA analysis and integrated with the health system's electronic medical record (EMR);
  • Personalized Medicine Consult Clinics - offer specialized care in oncology and cardiovascular clinics;
  • Pharmacogenomics Clinic - one of only a few clinics nationwide that preemptively provides genetic testing to help predict how patients will respond to certain drugs; 
  • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory - comprised of multidisciplinary pathology experts using advanced tumor diagnostics and DNA analysis;
  • Genomic Health Initiative - a groundbreaking research study that is collecting 100,000 DNA samples to understand the correlation between genomics and disease, paving the way to more effectively manage patients' health on a larger scale.

"One of the most exciting capabilities we have as part of the Center is the DNA sequencing of blood and tumors," said Karen Kaul, MD, PhD, Chairman, Department of Pathology at NorthShore. "With a DNA sample from blood or tumors, we identify key genetic patterns and mutations, enabling our team to better diagnose conditions, tailor treatments and personalize care. This is truly the beginning of a new era of genomic medicine."

Further supporting the program is an extensive data warehouse, allowing NorthShore's informatics experts to analyze massive amounts of patient data to detect patterns of clinical significance. NorthShore's 12-year success with its EMR -- and being one of the first in the US to successfully implement an EMR system-wide -- has made this possible.

"NorthShore experts are using EMR data and genetic information to identify specific conditions a patient may be at risk for down the road," said Doug Silverstein, president of NorthShore Evanston Hospital. "Patient data helps us understand the healthcare path of someone's life. An individual's genome, health history and the collective data of the EMR can help us predict what conditions a patient may develop in the future, such as diabetes or high blood pressure."

The personalized patient data analysis being developed at NorthShore will enable real-time clinical decision support alerts through its EMR, allowing clinicians to apply the results of genetic testing in the traditional patient care setting, explained Silverstein.

For more information on NorthShore's Center for Personalized Medicine and genomic research initiatives, please visit http://www.northshore.org/personalized-medicine/ or call 847.570.GENE (4363).

About NorthShore University HealthSystem

NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is an integrated healthcare delivery system, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois. NorthShore has four hospitals -- Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park and Skokie -- and a multispecialty physician practice, NorthShore Medical Group, comprised of 900 primary and specialty care physicians located in the Chicagoland area. NorthShore is a Magnet recognized organization, the first in Illinois designated as a system to receive this honor demonstrating excellence in nursing. The system also includes the NorthShore Research Institute and NorthShore Foundation. In 2003, NorthShore was among the first in the U.S. to successfully launch an electronic medical record system. In addition, as part of its community health initiatives, NorthShore has contributed more than $268 million in charitable care and services.