Penn State Hershey facility focuses on genetics


(Hershey) — Researchers at Penn State Hershey Medical Center have opened a new facility to help them tailor treatments to patients’ unique genetic makeup.

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Photo by Craig Layne/witf

Doctors and dignitaries open the Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine

Doctors dropped a curtain covering the entrance to the new Institute for Personalized Medicine to mark the space’s official opening.

Inside, state-of the art lab equipment helps researchers sort and analyze genetic material patients have donated.

Penn State Hershey CEO Dr. Harold Paz says doctors use the data to create treatments that are unique to the disease and to the patient.

“We’re beginning to tailor cancer therapy, such as in breast cancer, to the specific genetic makeup of the cancer itself, deciding which drugs to use,” Dr. Paz says. “We’re beginning to see it offered in other areas as well, such as in cardiovascular disease.”

The samples, given with consent by Penn State Hershey patients, are also part of a so-called “biorepository.”

The de-identified tissue and blood can be used in ongoing research into genetic treatments.

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Photo by Craig Layne/witf

Penn State President Rodney Erickson and US Sen. Bob Casey tour the Penn State Hershey Institute for Personalized Medicine.

The institute’s new space and equipment were funded by $2.85 million of federal funds and $1.5 million from Pennsylvania’s settlement with tobacco companies.