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Aurora Health Care Unveils ORBIT, A Cutting-Edge Research Instrument
Date:4/20/2009

Aurora's mission to improve patient care, said Sue Ela, R.N., executive vice president of Aurora Health Care and president of Aurora's metro region.

"We are committed to bringing the latest research to our patients," she says. "ORBIT will aid in the translation of science to the patient's bedside."

By assisting health care research, Aurora's hope is to help make drugs and other therapies more effective, safer and less expensive, Ela says.

Patient recruitment for ORBIT is being rolled out at Aurora's 13 hospitals and 120 clinics in eastern Wisconsin, starting with its Milwaukee facilities. It will be expanded throughout the system over time.

If patients agree to participate, blood left over from their lab tests is sent to the ORBIT center. Eventually, other specimens, such as saliva or tissue, could be collected. At the center, a robot extracts DNA from the blood, bar codes the specimen and stores it in a freezer that holds up to 76,800 vials.

Bar coding allows the specimen to be linked with the person's electronic medical record without identifying information such as a name, ensuring patient privacy.

The medical history and other information tied to each specimen is updated as participants return to Aurora for care, keeping information current and adding to the databank's research value.

ORBIT could speed the development of personalized medicine, says Randall Lambrecht, Ph.D., Aurora's vice president of research and academic relations.

"The field of pharmacogenomics aims to find a way to determine the most effective drug for an individual with the fewest side effects, based on that person's genetic makeup," Lambrecht says. "This is the prelude to 'personalized medicine,' where a drug or drug combinations are developed specifically for an individual."

Physicians know that not all patients respond to the same dr
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SOURCE Aurora Health Care
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