The Institute for Genetics & Translational Genomics partners with other programs to facilitate activities related to genetics and genomics. This collaboration is helpful in many of the cancer research efforts underway at Loma Linda University Cancer Center.
The primary goal of the institute is to improve the lives of all those we are called to serve. To accomplish this, the institute leverages recent insights into the human genome to catalyze further discovery and application of genetics and genomics. Doing so enables us to deepen, share and apply our understanding of the genetic and genomic sciences.
We support research, education and clinical care not only on campus, but also in our community and beyond. Each function of the institute works toward our primary goal:
- Research, by translating new knowledge into novel tools and techniques that better combat diseases.
- Education, by teaching medical students, graduate students and genetic counselors about the genetic basis for human diseases.
- Service, by providing and enhancing services intended to improve treatment of diseases like cancer, making them more effective, better personalized and cheaper.
Nearly all diseases (and their treatments) are influenced by genetics and genomics. The institute seeks to advance knowledge of the molecular basis of health and disease by supporting these research efforts. The end results, including new knowledge, tools and techniques, give patients better chances at living healthier and longer.
One of the institute’s expected partners is the Center for Genomics, housed within the LLU School of Medicine. Through the center, researchers have access to powerful genomic, epigenomic and bioinformatic tools for their studies. Other expected institute partners include Research Affairs and the School of Public Health.
Education is a pivotal step in efforts to translate research into better patient outcomes. The institute seeks to educate both existing and future health professionals to employ the latest genomic information. Through seminars, educational modules and deepened curricula, students and health professionals learn how they can leverage genomics to optimize health.
The institute also supports the development of a new master’s program in genetic counseling. A new generation of genetic counselors will be an essential part of translating genomic data into actionable information for patients. Further, there are significant career opportunities for genetic counselors as demand is high and supply is low.
Finally, the institute seeks to catalyze both the development of new genetic and genomic services and the enhancement of existing capabilities. In particular, the institute’s goal is to add value to existing clinical diagnosis and treatment planning. Improving these two aspects of patient care is essential to improving outcomes for many patients, especially those affected by cancer.
Services to be offered may include:
- Cancer sequencing and drug database cross-referencing to better inform clinical decisions about treatment via targeted therapies.
- Analysis of potential immunotherapy efficacy for patients to increase appropriate utilization and reduce costs.
- Analysis of patient genetic sequencing and translation of that information into useful, actionable treatment guidance by genetic counselors.
- Ethical guidance for handling genetic information discovered through sequencing.
Because of genomics’ far-reaching impact, the institute is able to play a supporting role enhancing a number of other programs:
- The Cancer Health Disparities Research Program
- The Pediatric Leukemia Research Program
- The Cancer Particle Therapy Research Program
- The Cancer Population Sciences Research Program
- Cancer stem cell biology research