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Three Seattle-Based Healthcare Organizations Launch Precision Medicine Institute

December 7, 2017
by Heather Landi
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The Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine has been launched in Seattle combining the research strengths and capabilities of UW Medicine, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children's.

The three institutions, all based in Seattle, announced this week that they are collaborating to discover personalized treatments based on patients' individual genetic and molecular profiles.

The Brotman Baty Institute was created through a $50 million gift from Jeffrey and Susan Brotman and Pam and Dan Baty. Collaborations among the institute’s three co-founding institutions will lead to new, personalized approaches to the prevention and treatment of diseases, both common and rare, that limit the lives of millions of people worldwide.

Jeff Brotman, Costco co-founder and long-time business leader, died Aug. 1, 2017, and the gift, said Jeff Brotman’s friend and business associate Dan Baty, will be a lasting tribute to Brotman’s generosity and interest in furthering medicine to save lives and prevent disease and illness. “What attracted Jeff to precision medicine is that it will be a total transformation of how doctors can treat and heal,” Baty said in a press release. Baty is a healthcare innovator and founder of private equity firm Columbia Pacific Management. “And what attracted all of us is that the three partner organizations have the expertise and the collaborative culture to make precision medicine a success.”

Dr. Jay Shendure, professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will direct the BBI Institute. It will create a network of research labs across UW Medicine, Fred Hutch and Seattle Children’s.

“We have only begun to understand how the approximately 3 billion letters in the human genome actively code all of the complexity in a human body and the role they play in determining our health,” Shendure said in a statement. “There are exciting revolutions going on right now that are leading us toward a future where the ways we interact with the healthcare system will be highly tailored to who we are as individuals, genetically and otherwise.”

Researchers at the institute will focus on discoveries that will improve patient outcomes while minimizing the harmful side effects of treatments and therapies. Among the institute’s first projects is an effort to catalog the roughly 60,000 estimated possible mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes —to identify those that confer the greatest risk of breast cancer — to help young women make informed decisions about their health.

“This tremendous investment in precision medicine is truly an investment in the health of our community,” Dr. Jeff Sperring, chief executive officer of Seattle Children’s., said in a statement. “We are proud to collaborate with UW Medicine and Fred Hutch as we work to advance new discoveries and treatments to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.”

“Our collaborative effort is putting our region at the forefront of finding cures for cancer,” Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutch, stated in the press release. “With the convergence of bioscience, technology and data science, the three of us — Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine — are working together and with organizations across Washington to revolutionize cancer treatment. The vision and generosity of the Brotmans and Batys bring us closer to eliminating the suffering these and other diseases cause.”


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