Since its inception in 1997, the AMDeC Foundation, Inc. (AMDeC), a not-for-profit consortium of 35 of New York's preeminent medical schools, academic health centers, and major medical research institutions, has paved the way for its members to participate in large-scale collaborations. Such initiatives are now heralded as essential for translational and cross-institutional approaches to biomedical research. AMDeC actively works with its members to foster partnerships for basic-science and clinical research projects, to build genomics and other core facilities, and to expand New York's research infrastructure. Two of its flagship initiatives include the Integrated Genomics Program and the New York Cancer Project.
BUILDING A SHARED RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE
AMDeC has created a state-of-the-art research infrastructure for New York. The AMDeC Microarray Resource Center (MRC) is a collaborative network of microarray core facilities throughout New York State. The MRC actively works to standardize services, reagents, and protocols across AMDeC-affiliated microarray cores, providing both...
DEVELOPING AN INTEGRATED GENOMICS PROGRAM
Rapid developments in many biomedical disciplines, including genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, mean that scientists are faced with overwhelming amounts of new data, increasingly complex data types, evolving standards, and incompatible analytical tools. The AMDeC Integrated Genomics Program, an alliance of the AMDeC Microarray Resource Center and Bioinformatics Core, seeks to bring together many of these different kinds of data and analysis tools. This provides researchers with easy, intuitive platforms to integrate clinical and genomic data and to mine it using sophisticated computational capabilities.
To this end, caWorkbench has been developed. This open-source software package enables scientists to analyze sequence and microarray profile data in conjunction with emerging biomedical information, such as pathways and genotypic data, as well as more traditional clinical data, whose research potential in a genomic context has so far eluded the research community. caWork-bench will also provide a central access point to the AMDeC Microarray Data Repository, a database that collects thousands of microarray expression profiles from across New York State. This will help achieve the Integrated Genomics Program's overarching goal: to create the first large-scale biomedical research platform for collaborative science in pursuit of new biological knowledge, personalized diagnostics, and therapeutic tools. This platform will be a key stepping stone for a new translational research component, bringing a tremendous array of genomic tools, both experimental and computational, to bear on the analysis of the genetic basis for common diseases.
TAPPING INTO THE REGION'S RICH RESOURCES
The AMDeC New York Cancer Project, a pioneering undertaking to determine the environmental and genetic factors that cause cancer, demonstrated the feasibility of large prospective population research studies in New York. The project, which set out to improve both cancer prevention and treatment, used an extensive network of hospital members to set up sites throughout the city for the recruitment of a very diverse cohort. This has resulted in a database of health information with companion genetic material on approximately 20,000 New Yorkers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. This database is a resource for investigators studying cancer and other diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease and is currently available through AMDeC.
Through these and other initiatives AMDeC continues to build upon New York's unique capabilities as a center of world-class research institutions, academic medical centers, and hospitals.