Tag Archives: International Genomics Consortium

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Phoenix Pathologist Earns Distinguished Patient Award

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) awarded Robert J. Penny, MD, PhD, FCAP, from Phoenix, the CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award at a special ceremony held in San Diego on September 8, 2012, at CAP ’12 — THE Pathologists’ Meeting.

Dr. Penny was recognized for his extensive scientific translational research to accelerate the adoption of molecular pathways and associated therapies into the field of pathology and oncology to improve the lives of cancer patients.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my peers with the CAP Distinguished Patient Care Award,” said Dr. Penny. “As pathologists, we are the current and future innovators to drive molecular pathways and their associated therapies into clinical medicine. My work recognized here is a very small start to a remarkable future for the patients of tomorrow.”

Dr. Penny is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) in Phoenix. While at IGC, he began the national Expression Project for Oncology (expO), which provides a free public gene expression database of 2,000 cancers with clinical outcomes for translation. The National Institutes of Health cited expO’s success as critical in deciding to launch The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a national project to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

Also while at IGC, he founded the Molecular Profiling Institute and served as its first chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Dr. Penny’s vision was to bring to surgical pathology a holistic, evidenced-based, integrated molecular pathway analysis with accompanying therapies provided by pathologists for oncologists. He developed the Molecular Profiling Institute’s portfolio of molecular testing and pharmaceutical services, which includes his successful commercially available holistic genomic analysis of cancer with its award-winning surgical oncology report (Target Now) that matches molecular mechanisms with associated oncology therapies. The test has been paradigm changing. Patients who failed rounds of chemotherapy frequently benefited from the targeted therapy. Today, tens of thousands of patients annually use the test throughout the United States.

Dr. Penny is a recognized expert in the translation of diagnostics into patient care as well as in creating high-quality biorepositories. He has established two national esoteric reference medical laboratories, a national tissue bank and analysis center, and a national genomics program to help accelerate the translation of new diagnostics. He has helped bring cellular and molecular diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic testing to patient care throughout the nation with leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors.
Dr. Penny received his BS, MS, PhD (genetics), and MD from the University of Arizona and then went on to receive his pathology training at Harvard’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he served as chief resident and completed fellowships in hematopathology and surgical pathology. Dr. Penny’s contributions include a textbook in oncology, publication of articles, and leadership roles in laboratory management.
The College of American Pathologists (CAP), celebrating 50 years as the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, is a medical society serving more than 18,000 physician members and the global laboratory community. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care.

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International Genomics Consortium forms joint venture with Michigan

As a key step toward providing patients with treatments based on their own DNA profiles, the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) and the University of Michigan have launched a new joint venture that will help usher in an age of personalized medicine.

Called Paradigm, the new nonprofit company brings together the expertise of IGC and the U-M Health System, two leaders in using genetic information to understand and treat disease.

Beginning with cancer and then extending into other disease groups, Paradigm will offer doctors and health care organizations anywhere access to whole gene and multi-gene sequencing and molecular diagnostics.  The company will also help support clinical trials at UMHS and other healthcare systems.

Paradigm is being formed under the Michigan Health Corporation, the part of UMHS that enables outside partnerships. The company will have a presence in Phoenix and Ann Arbor.

“Paradigm builds on our ever-increasing understanding of the interplay of multiple disease-causing genes and how this affects sensitivity to specific treatment regimens,” says Robert Penny, M.D., Ph.D., the chief executive officer and co-founder of Paradigm and IGC, which was formed by veteran genetic researchers and played a key role in compiling The Cancer Genome Atlas, a catalog of genes known to be involved in cancer. “We will bring our expertise to bear to create true personalized medicine options for clinicians and their patients.”

“We’re thrilled to take this important step that allows us to harness the power of genetic information to guide patient therapy and improve outcomes,” says Jay Hess, M.D. Ph.D., M.H.S.A.,chair of the Department of Pathology at the U-M Medical School and a co-founder of Paradigm. “IGC has a proven track record of bringing molecular diagnostics to market, yet shares our nonprofit patient-focused vision.”

“Through this new venture, we will continue our leadership role supporting and translating cutting edge medical research to improve patient care,” said David Mallery, J.D., M.B.A., the president and co-founder of Paradigm and IGC.

Initially, Paradigm will focus on offering services to oncologists and oncology groups, pathologists, academic medical centers and clinical trial groups studying personalized medicine regimens. Its first products will be especially of use in better tailoring treatments for cancer patients.

“The International Genomics Consortium played a pivotal role in ushering in Arizona’s bioscience initiative in 2002 and has continued to be a leader in the industry. Over the years, IGC has provided Arizona with federal research grants, successful commercial ventures, and high-quality jobs while contributing to the advancement of human medicine,” said Jack B. Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation.  “This collaboration among two outstanding national institutions demonstrates Arizona’s leadership in molecular medicine and is a testament to both IGC’s and Arizona’s stature in the biosciences nationally.”

“With the University of Michigan Health System as our partner in Paradigm, IGC strengthens its revolutionary role in gene-based research, making our country more competitive internationally and keeping Maricopa County at the forefront of personalized medicine,” said Richard Mallery, Founding Chair of IGC.

University of Arizona College of Medicine

UA College Of Medicine Health Sciences Education Building Celebrates “Topping Out”

Health Sciences Education Building, UA College of MedicineA major Downtown Phoenix development project hit a big milestone October 5, 2011 with the “topping out” of construction of the Health Sciences Education Building on the campus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The final beam of the building was ceremoniously lifted and secured at its highest point with workers and college staff and faculty celebrating midday Wednesday.

The $129M, 264,000 SF building – being built in a joint venture by DPR Construction and Sundt Construction, Inc. – will allow the state to take the next step in expanding its medical education facilities.

The new six-story building will house administrative offices, lecture halls, classrooms, class laboratories and a learning resource center. CO Architects is the design and executive architect; Ayers Saint Gross is associate architect and master planner.

The College of Medicine-Phoenix plans to expand its class size and add instruction as Northern Arizona University will also bring a physician’s assistant and physical therapy programs to the Health Sciences Education Building. 


In its fifth year in Downtown Phoenix, the College of Medicine currently anchors the campus with 192 medical students, admitting 48 per year. After the completion of the Health Sciences Education Building in 3Q 2012, the university plans to admit up to 80 students per class and eventually reach a capacity of 120 per class to address the critical need for physicians in Arizona.

Also on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus are the UA College of Pharmacy and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the headquarters of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and International Genomics Consortium, and Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building.

For more information about the Health Sciences Education Building, visit ahsc.arizona.edu.

Health Sciences Education Building, UA College of Medicine

Good Samaritan Hospital - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Arizona’s Health Care Industry Has Flourished From Cottages To World-Class Facilities

A Century of Care

From cottages to world-class facilities, Arizona’s health care industry has flourished

Mayo Clinic Hospital - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 In the nearly 100 years since Arizona became a state, the health care sector has become a powerful economic force.

According to a study by Arizona State University’s L. William Seidman Research Institute, Arizona’s hospital community alone employs more than 80,000 people and contributes $11.5 billion to the gross state product. Indirectly, hospitals create about 120,000 additional jobs, more than the combined populations of Coconino, Graham and Santa Cruz counties.

Sisters of Mercy

It all started some 17 years before statehood in January 1895, when the Sisters of Mercy had collected enough money to rent a six-bedroom cottage at Fourth and Polk streets in Downtown Phoenix. Each room was equipped with two beds for TB patients, and thus was born St. Joseph’s Sanitarium, predecessor of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and the first hospital in Phoenix. Downtown Phoenix 1900s - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

In the mid-1940s, the nuns purchased 10 acres at Third Avenue and Thomas Road, which was part of an old dairy farm. Today, St. Joseph’s is a 670-bed, not-for-profit hospital that is one of the cornerstones of the state’s health care industry.

A second giant in health care, Good Samaritan Hospital of Phoenix, launched its first facility in an apartment building at Third Street near Van Buren in 1911. Initially incorporated as the Arizona Deaconess Hospital and Home, it opened with 15 beds.

One-hundred years later, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Downtown Phoenix is the flagship of Banner Health, with more than 662 licensed patient care beds. Banner Good Samaritan employs more than 4,200 health care professionals and support staff. Nearly 1,700 physicians representing more than 50 specialties work with Banner Good Samaritan staff to care for more than 43,000 inpatients a year.

Another early entry in the health care scene was the State Asylum for the Insane, which was rebuilt after a fire in 1911. In 1924, the asylum was informally renamed Arizona State Hospital.

Established in 1943 as a community hospital, Tucson Medical Center is among the 300 largest hospitals in the country. It is licensed for 650 adult and skilled nursing beds, and serves more than 30,000 inpatients and 122,000 outpatients a year.

St. Luke Hospital - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011In 1971, University Medical Center — a private, nonprofit hospital located at the Arizona Health Sciences Center adjacent to the University of Arizona in Tucson — was established. UMC is Arizona’s only academic medical center, and earlier this year it became an international focal point for neurosurgery and trauma care after a gunman shot and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and killed six people.

In Northern Arizona, the Flagstaff Medical Center, a not-for-profit hospital, was founded in 1936. A part of the Northern Arizona Healthcare family, it has some 270 beds and its medical staff includes about 200 physicians. Among its specialties are cancer, heart and sports medicine.

Health care continues to be a concern on Indian reservations throughout Arizona, particularly in some of the remote regions. A relatively new program, the American Indian Research Center for Health is designed to improve the health status of Native Americans and increase the number of Native American scientists and health professionals engaged in research. Classes for the student-training component of the program are held at the University of Arizona.

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