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Video: Turning Hope Into Reality - Genomics Research at the VA

WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- VA's Office of Research and Development is at the forefront of developing safer, more effective treatments based on new knowledge about the role of genes in health and disease. VA is superbly fitted to study genomics--the use of patients' individual genetic profiles to customize care--because of its genomics laboratory; large and diverse patient population; world-class investigators; an integrated network of basic research and clinical application; and an unequaled electronic medical record system that will in time incorporate genetic information.

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"The future of medicine is determined by research. And genomics is the direction for research in the 21st century," says Joel Kupersmith, M.D., VA's Chief Research and Development Officer. Genomics is the key, Kupersmith elaborates, to personalizing medicine--that is, tailoring disease screening, treatment, and monitoring according to an individual patient's genetic makeup.

Genomics-based approaches currently in use at the VA include genetic tests to confirm the diagnosis of hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition in which iron builds up in the body; to predict a patient's response to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs; and to help diagnose breast, colon, and other cancers.

VA Research has a rich array of ongoing genomics studies. At the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center, for example, a clinical research team led by Jack Lichy, M.D., Ph.D., is examining the genetic factors in the treatment of bladder and colon cancers. The investigators are also working to predict adverse reactions to a drug commonly used to prevent dangerous blood clots.

"What we're learning," says Marc Blackman, M.D., Associate Chief of Staff of Research and Development at the D.C. VA Medical Center, "is going to make medical diagnosis and treatment in the future so much better than what it is today--not just in the VA but in the world at large."

In summing up genomics' potential to launch the world into a new era of customized medical care, Kupersmith says, "The new day of personalized medicine is close at hand. It's about making the treatment as individualized as the disease, and providing information for patients so they can have even more control over their own care."

Visit VA's Research and Development site at

For a program overview of the VA Research program, go to

For updates on the work of VA Research, please visit

For information about the Department of Veterans Affairs, please visit

SOURCE Department of Veterans Affairs
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