Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Illumina Collaborate on Scalable Clinical Whole-Genome Sequencing Initiative
NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Seeking to advance the scope of precision medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Illumina, Inc. are entering into a collaboration to sequence the complete human genomes of thousands of consenting patients, in order to identify genetic alterations driving disease and potentially reveal previously unidentified therapies for treatment. The initiative, which also includes a collaboration between Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and the New York Genome Center (NYGC), aims to evaluate the diagnostic potential of whole-genome sequencing at scale, which allows the interrogation of the full genome sequence of a patient’s DNA. The goal is to better understand health problems and potential disease risks of individual patients, and to design more effective treatments, including the choice of specific drugs and their dosing.
Investigators will study the feasibility and viability of large-scale implementation of whole-genome sequencing within an academic medical center that is part of a major metropolitan health care system in the United States. Whole-genome sequencing has already been shown to improve patient care and disease prevention in specific clinical contexts, but few systems have deployed whole-genome sequencing across multiple care pathways. Weill Cornell Medicine, through its Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, which have applied this precision medicine approach to investigate cancer’s molecular underpinnings since 2015, will be among the first medical institutions to examine the feasibility of large-scale whole-genome sequencing across multiple diseases. In addition to revealing the role individual genes play in disease and therapeutic responses, the study could also yield promising new avenues for scientific inquiry.
Under the initiative, which originates from Weill Cornell Medicine’s Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, doctors at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will offer qualifying patients the option to have their genomes sequenced as part of their diagnostic workups. NYGC will leverage its high-throughput whole-genome sequencing clinical sequencing expertise to investigate patients’ DNA, using Illumina’s patented Next-Generation Sequencing technology. NYGC was the first sequencing center in the country to gain regulatory approval for clinical whole-genome sequencing tests for genetic diseases and cancer from the New York State Department of Health Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program. Board-certified molecular geneticists at NYGC will interpret and share the results with ordering physicians, who will then share them with their patients. The initiative will focus on the disease areas of oncology, cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. This first phase will inform the next steps to expand infrastructure to support more widespread testing in years to come.
“We are committed to expanding whole-genome sequencing to cancer and other common diseases more broadly, so that the approach can eventually become a routine part of healthcare, an essential source of data for biomedical research and, importantly, enhance patient care,” said Dr. Olivier Elemento, director of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, who also leads joint precision medicine efforts at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “This project and the network of participating
The concert videos were filmed at restaurants, shops and iconic locations throughout Greater Cleveland and will be released weekly on social media.
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Orchestra musicians have partnered together to film a new series of performance videos throughout Greater Cleveland for their new Music Medicine Initiative.
Jessica Lee, the assistant concertmaster for the Orchestra, and her colleagues created the videos to share the healing power of music with healthcare workers, patients and those affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The series of seven to ten videos will be released on a weekly basis on the Orchestra’s Facebook, Twitter Instagram and YouTube accounts beginning Monday, November 23.
“This series is a part of the Music Medicine Initiative: The Power of Music for Health and Well-Being, which is a community collaboration between The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Clinic’s Art + Design Institute,” a new release surrounding the project states.
The Orchestra and Cleveland Clinic partner on a number of projects to explore the intersection of music and medicine in both the local and global communities. A few of their recent collaborations include the Salute to Healthcare Heroes chamber concerts for Cleveland Clinic healthcare workers by Cleveland Orchestra musicians, performances by Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra’s chamber music ensembles at Cleveland Clinic locations and co-hosting Music & the Brain symposia in the United States and Europe.
“As the pandemic hit us, I saw the deep stress and pain experienced by frontline workers and those affected by COVID-19,” said Lee. “There was also an enormous sense of isolation and a hunger for beauty around the world, so as I began this project I focused on the words ‘community’ and ‘connection,’ two things we are all especially longing for right now. This is what led me to film these videos in some of our beloved businesses in the Greater Cleveland community, to bring the joy of these places back into people’s lives while we are less able to visit and enjoy them. Music has the unique power to unite and heal where words cannot, and it is my hope that through these videos, we will lift the spirits of healthcare workers, patients, and our entire community.”
The first three videos in the new project include the following performances by musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra:
- Movement 3 from Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, filmed at Luna Bakery in Cleveland Heights. Performed by Jessica Lee, assistant concertmaster (violin); Yun-Ting Lee (violin); Wesley Collins, principal viola (viola); and Dane Johansen (cello).
- Telemann’s Concerto for Four Violins in D Major, filmed at Mitchell’s Ice Cream in Ohio City. Performed by Peter Otto, first associate concertmaster (violin); Jung-Min Amy Lee, associate concertmaster (violin); Jessica Lee, assistant concertmaster (violin); and Stephen Tavani, assistant concertmaster (violin).
- Barber’s Dover Beach (poem by Matthew Arnold), filmed at Alley Cat Oyster Bar in downtown Cleveland. Performed by Jessica Lee, assistant concertmaster (violin); Yun-Ting Lee (violin); Wesley Collins, principal viola (viola); Dane Johansen (cello); and guest vocalist Thomas Meglioranza
The path to greatness starts to take shape once we leave the confines of our safe spaces and begin to make bold strides across the world. While people say time changes things, some of the most extraordinary individuals across any industry can attest to the power of taking the initiative in the path towards success. In other words, significant change begins within ourselves. And as someone passionate about making the world a better place, Luis Galvan steps in to provide an avenue where he can motivate people and help them holistically achieve health and wellness through Zuruike Ltd.
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This Election Day, voters in Washington, D.C., will consider a measure that, if approved, would effectively decriminalize the use of psychedelic plants, like ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly known as magic mushrooms.
Initiative 81, or the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, would make the investigation and arrest for adult cultivation and use of psychedelic plants one of the lowest law enforcement priorities for the district’s police department. It also contains a non-binding clause asking the D.C. attorney general to not prosecute anyone charged with an offense related to the substances.
Melissa Lavasani, a mom and D.C. government employee who proposed the initiative, called the measure a “small step” toward ending the war on drugs.
“We believe that there is a growing body of research around these substances, and there’s a lot of interest in the research community,” she said. “And our laws should adapt to what the research has indicated.”
The district would follow Denver, Oakland, California and Santa Clara, California, in decriminalizing some or all psychedelic plants. Voters in Oregon are also considering a similar measure, which would set up treatment facilities using psilocybin mushrooms, but would not decriminalize them.
Lavasani saw the success of the decriminalization campaign in Denver and began advocating for a similar measure in the district. She knew the therapeutic value of psychedelics personally after using psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca to treat severe postpartum depression.
“I had zero experience with depression or any real mental health issues,” Lavasani said. “I’ve had a pretty regular, good life. And I had never been in that situation before and I was struggling terribly.”
At the time, she sought a more natural way of treating depression (through cognitive behavioral therapy and other methods), but nothing was working for her.
“At that point in time, I was contemplating suicide because I was so miserable, and my family was really suffering with me,” she said. “I didn’t really see a way out.”
Then, Lavasani came across an interview with mycologist Paul Stamets on the Joe Rogan podcast, in which Stamets talked about the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms. After doing her own research, Lavasani decided to try them.
“I would take it in the morning and within a matter of days I started to get my humanity back,” she said. “I started to feel like I used to. I was engaging with my children and I was engaging with my husband again, and the whole world lit up for me.”
But despite how much her mental health improved, the fear of being arrested for using the Schedule I drug persisted.
“It’s a frightening thought to work your entire life for your career and to build your family and to know that it can all be wiped out with one person finding this information out and reporting it to the police,” Lavasani said. “I