The AT&T Foundation has announced a $900,000 medical technology contribution to Mayo Clinic to fund the expansion of the Mayo Clinic Life Sciences System (MCLSS) in support of individualized medicine.
MCLSS is a combination data warehouse and search engine that currently stores millions of patients' clinical and genomic data and identifies subsets of patients with specific genetic features and medical histories. (This patient information is gathered and stored only after Mayo Clinic has received the written consent of patients who wish to participate in this effort.) Mayo Clinic is said to be the first organization to receive a gift of this nature from the AT&T Foundation in 2007.
As part of its collaboration with IBM, Mayo Clinic is capturing consenting patients' genetic information and medical histories in the MCLSS, where it becomes a reference for accurately prescribing medical solutions for other patients with similar genetic profiles and medical backgrounds.
Mayo Clinic will use the AT&T Foundation gift to expand MCLSS in order to store additional genomic and prescription data and then make this data retrievable by scientists throughout Mayo Clinic. Data in this expanded system also will be used by physicians to support real-time clinical decisions in actual patient settings.
"We have made a strong commitment to develop this infrastructure and apply it for the benefit of our patients, and we are honored to have AT&T's support for this initiative," said Glenn Forbes, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic Rochester. "With these funds we can leverage our ongoing research and expand our current efforts to provide personalized medicine in the near future."
"The impact of personalized medicine on patient care will be phenomenal," said Franklyn Prendergast, M.D. Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.
"Many clinical decisions today are based on diagnosis alone and then adjusted by trial and error. In the world of individualized medicine, diagnostics will no longer adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it will be made individual to each patient's specific situation. For physicians at Mayo Clinic, delivering the best care to their patients is their No. 1 priority, and personalized medicine will be a key development to help deliver on that promise."
As many as 100,000 Americans die each year from harmful reactions to medicine, and more than 2 million require hospital attention. One of the immediate benefits of personalized medicine is minimizing those effects. By employing such a forward-looking application of medicine, health professionals can mitigate harmful reactions and help create an environment where both patients and members of the medical community are highly informed of all potential corollaries.
"Mayo Clinic's work to personalize and improve care will change the way patients across the world will be treated in the future," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. "Mayo is one of the crown jewels of Minnesota, and we value this institution's dedication to supporting the latest research and medical advancements."
The AT&T Foundation supports initiatives that use telemedicine/telehealth to reach underserved and hard-to-serve populations, increase access to specialists and provide medical education, as well as programs that use innovative and/or collaborative approaches to address key community health and human services issues.
"AT&T is pleased to support Mayo Clinic in its efforts to provide personalized medicine to its patients," said Wauneta Browne, regional vice president of AT&T Legislative and Regulatory Affairs. "We look forward to seeing both the benefits that this initiative will provide to Mayo's patients and the technological benefits that it will bring to the medical community."