Johns Hopkins inHealth, the precision medicine effort at Johns Hopkins has announced plans to launch eight precision medicine centers of excellence (COE) this year to highlight areas where the newest technologies and measurement tools can be applied to greatly improve patient care. As part of the effort, Johns Hopkins Medicine has identified several similarly challenging conditions for which precision medicine centers of excellence will improve efficiencies and patient outcomes, while fostering new research and treatment platforms. The centers will focus on a number of different conditions, including heart failure, genetics, multiple sclerosis, arrhythmias and prostate cancer.
The precision medicine COEs is part of a joint effort between Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory announced this week to apply rigorous data analysis and systems engineering practices to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The partnership between Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Applied Physics Laboratory leverages the medical and systems engineering expertise resident at the two institutions to create a “learning health system” that will speed the translation of knowledge to practice in these and other key areas.
“While totally unrelated diseases, these share the trait that a diagnosis alone cannot predict how the disease will progress or whether a patient will respond to a particular treatment,” says Antony Rosen, M.B.Ch.B., vice dean for research for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “With the use of new measurement tools and data analytics, patients can be divided into very distinct subgroups that are so different in trajectory, it’s almost as if each subgroup represents a different disease.”
Currently, a physician’s expertise develops over the span of his or her career from the culmination of patients that physician has personally seen. And how one defines low- or high-risk disease can vary subtly according to the range of individual patients each physician treats. According to Rosen, the new centers at Johns Hopkins aggregate this collective scientific knowledge to more precisely characterize into which subgroup a patient falls, thereby systematizing diagnosis and enabling more focused treatment and outcomes.
The new National Health Mission Area will focus on programs designed to predict and prevent illness, injury and disease; rapidly detect and respond to changes in health status; restore and sustain health; and improve overall health and human performance. It builds on the laboratory’s history of applying technology to solve critical challenges by focusing these capabilities to improve health and health care, says Sezin Palmer, executive for research and exploratory development at APL, who heads up the new mission area.
“We want to leverage APL’s expertise to develop solutions across all care environments in a way that advances health and health care solutions for civilian, military and veteran populations worldwide,” says Palmer. “Our vision, shared by our Johns Hopkins University and school of medicine partners, is to revolutionize health through science and engineering. It conveys the scale at which we aim to make an impact in this area. We are not simply working to improve the state of health and health care in our nation, but to fundamentally disrupt and truly revolutionize it.”