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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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ProMedica and The University of Toledo (UT) have announced the opening of the Academic Health Center BioRepository (AHCBR) to help researchers find new and improved treatments for cancer and other medical conditions, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

Human blood and tissue samples will be donated by area patients to the BioRepository, located in the Department of Pathology at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, for future scientific research.

On May 9, governmental, health care and community leaders joined physicians, researchers and staff from both organizations for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the milestone.

“This is one of the most exciting achievements, so far, for the Academic Health Center and we are very fortunate to have such an advanced program in our area,” said Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer, ProMedica. “We are committed to the expansion of medical research and look forward to witnessing some amazing scientific advancements and discoveries.”

A BioRepository is a “bank” where blood and tissue samples, called biospecimens, are stored. With patient approval, biospecimens will be collected from leftover tissue obtained during medical procedures. The stored biospecimens will help researchers learn more about specific diseases, identify how they progress and develop new treatment therapies. Initially, patients undergoing certain procedures at ProMedica Toledo Hospital will have the opportunity to participate, with expansion to the University of Toledo Medical Center and other facilities expected. “So many of the medicines and treatments that comprise modern medicine have been developed by researchers with access to a broad spectrum of tissue samples representative of the public generally,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, UT chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs.

“This BioRepository is an outstanding example of the benefit to the community of the collaboration between UT and ProMedica,” said Gold, who also serves as dean of the College of Medicine. “By combining the research abilities and patient volumes of our two organizations, we may very well develop medical treatments that will be the standard of care around the world in years to come.”

Dr. James Willey, professor and director of UT’s Cancer Research Center said that while cancer research will benefit, so will research into the treatment of countless conditions and diseases.

“A key advancement in the way we treat patients is to personalize medicine where, by basing a patient’s treatment on an analysis of his or her individual genetic characteristics, we can devise and implement the most suitable individual healthcare plan, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment,” Willey said.

“Cancer is a great example but you can take any of a broad array of diseases and conditions where the material collected at the BioRepository will be critical in identifying biomarkers. Biomarkers are substances and molecules we can use as clues to differentiate an individual’s needed cancer treatments from cancer treatments more generally,” he said.

The AHCBR is an important step in expanding research in the region and broadening the focus on biomedicine. As the BioRepository expands, it will become a valuable resource for researchers and open the door to future collaborations with leading national institutions.

For more information about the BioRepository program, call 419-291-4584 or visit www.betterfuturetogether.org.

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