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Health, Science & Tech

New Research Center Will Explore Personalized Medicine

UPMC will invest nearly $300 million into a new research facility that will focus on cancer and aging along with personalized medicine.

"Right now we take care of diseases that are really syndromes," said Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Steven Shapiro. "Patients have different susceptibility of those diseases, different courses of those diseases, different drugs that one person may respond better to. This is a way of finding the appropriate variation for an individual, to tailor treatment toward that individual."

The Center for Innovative Science will be located on the former Ford parts factory on Centre Avenue, a 350,000-sq. ft. site between Baum Boulevard and Morewood Avenue. The building will be a renovation of the former factory and a new structure. Shapiro said the location will facilitate collaboration with other research institutes.

"It's nice to create a research corridor next to the Hillman (Cancer Center) because it's much easier for the investigators to communicate," Shapiro said. "This was a building that UPMC had acquired and was thinking of building a cancer research center there a couple years ago, and now it's taken off with a little bit of a different focus relative to the healthcare reform and our new models of care."

Shapiro said the center, which is to be completed in 2014, will create 375 new positions from research scientists, to lab techs, to maintenance employees. The center will work with graduate and post doctorate students from the University of Pittsburgh and likely also with Carnegie Mellon and other universities.

What's at stake and candidate profiles for statewide races and competitive primaries in Allegheny County.