The New York Genome Center (NYGC) has launched an Innovation Center (IC) to provide access to novel sequencing technologies and to encourage interaction among NYGC’s Institutional Founding Members (IFMs) and technology collaborators. The IC also is adopting Life Technologies Ion Proton™ sequencer, which has been designed to sequence an entire human genome in a few hours for under $1,000. Four Ion Protons will be housed at IFM Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“We are extremely excited to be the first site for NYGC’s Innovation Center, through which we are gaining access to this technology,” said Thomas J. Kelly, M.D., Ph.D., director, Sloan-Kettering Institute. “We believe the system will greatly accelerate the rate at which we can collect information about the molecular changes in DNA that give rise to diseases such as cancer, enabling us to better exploit this information to develop more effective therapeutic strategies in the future.”

The NYGC was founded two years ago to boost New York City’s biotech image and to advance basic and translational life science research. It will officially open its doors next year.

For years many bioindustry observers wondered why the city, with all its economic and scientific resources, never caught the biotech wave and lagged behind such powerful regional biocenters as Boston and San Francisco. The NYGC was viewed as a significant step in the right direction.

“In many ways, New York missed the genomic era, and I don’t think anyone really realized how deep the problem was until they stopped to look at it,” Nancy J. Kelley, founding executive director of NYGC, told GEN last December.

One scientist who expects to take advantage of the IC is Scott W. Lowe, Ph.D. A member in the Cancer Biology & Genetics Program at Sloan-Kettering Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Dr. Lowe is studying difficult-to-treat cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia and hepatocellular carcinoma. Dr. Lowe believes the technology will enable his team to more quickly examine the genetic changes, or mutations, which occur in these lethal cancers, understand how these mutations influence response to therapy, and identify cancer-specific therapeutic targets.

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