George Mason and Inova Health System Create Research Partnership

Posted: April 6, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

At a formal announcement this morning, George Mason and Inova Health System will unveil a unique partnership to accelerate cutting-edge research discoveries to patient-tailored research and personalized medicine at the bedside, utilizing some of the most sophisticated technologies available.

George Mason University-Inova Health System Translational Research Centers is a joint initiative to coordinate multiple programs to implement proteomics, nanotechnology, and genomics research in cancer, metabolic syndrome, cardiopulmonary diseases, and neurodegenerative and liver diseases. This initiative comprises the research efforts of three shared centers: the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine; the Center for Biomedical Genomics; and the Center for the Study of Genomics of Liver Diseases. Inova and George Mason have combined efforts to recruit internationally renowned scientists, such as Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin III, to work closely with clinical investigators from Inova.

Lance Liotta
Lance Liotta

Liotta and Petricoin were recently appointed to the George Mason faculty and will codirect the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine. Liotta, chief of the National Cancer Institute’s Laboratory of Pathology, begins his tenure in May. Petricoin, formerly with the Food and Drug Administration, joined the university earlier this month. They also hold research appointments at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Emanuel Petricoin
Emanuel Petricoin

“Combining the resources and expertise available at George Mason University and Inova Health System will greatly enhance the outcomes of this revolutionary scientific research,” says George Mason President Alan Merten. “Contributing to a better understanding of diseases such as cancer and working to develop new diagnostic and treatment tools for patients is a legacy that George Mason is proud to be a part of.”

Scientists and clinical investigators will pursue innovative scientific discoveries and the development and implementation of novel technologies for the diagnosis and personalized treatment of specific diseases. Research will focus on the discovery and identification of biomarkers—biological indicators of cellular function in body fluids—for early disease detection and risk assessment, and the analysis of molecular pathways in diseased tissue to determine individualized and targeted treatment for patients. Results of the research will then be translated directly into patient management and care through clinical research and innovative clinical trials, with a vision toward creating a new paradigm to personalize medical treatment, resulting in a positive impact on public health.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring our organizations together to develop new technologies that will enhance treatment for patients diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and other conditions that have become so prevalent in our society,” says J. Knox Singleton, president and chief executive officer, Inova Health System. “We’re honored to collaborate with George Mason University on exploring this new frontier right here in Northern Virginia.”

Funding for the centers will come from grants and contracts, strategic alliances with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, technology agreements and royalties, and donations. A number of additional scientists are expected to join the centers within four years. Laboratories and support facilities will be maintained at George Mason’s Prince William Campus in Manassas and at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church.

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