IU Grand Challenges Winner Has Lofty Goals

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This story from Inside Indiana Business is being published here as a courtesy for readers of Grand Challenges News.

BLOOMINGTON - The inaugural winner of  Indiana University's $300 million Grand Challenges Program is setting a high bar. The Precision Health Initiative, which will receive up to $40 million in funding from the program and up to an additional $80 million from the IU School of Medicine, has goals including curing one cancer and one childhood disease over the next decade. The initiative is led by IU Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs Anantha Shekhar and a team of faculty from the IU med school and the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses.

Shekhar says precision health techniques are an "amazing miracle."

The team will focus on individualized precision medicine therapies with partners outside the university such as Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY), Roche Diagnostics, Cook Regentec, Deloitte, Regenstrief Institute and IU Health.

Up to 40 faculty members are expected to be added along with the program. Shekhar says "what we are boldly declaring with our Precision Health Initiative, is that over the next 10 years within IU, we will cure at least one cancer, we will cure at least one childhood disease and we will create prevention methods for at least one chronic disease and one neurodegenerative disease."

Precision medicine aims to understand genetic, development, behavioral and environmental factors contributing to the health of individuals. The winning initiative beat out four other finalists.

During Monday's announcement at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis, Shekhar said "it seems very ambitious and probably full of hubris, but I think we can do it. We have a team and we have the firm investment of our university, of our president, of all of our intellectual power, and more importantly I think, the entire state's good will behind it."

The Precision Health Initiative is led by IU Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs Anantha Shekhar, who says precision health techniques are an "amazing miracle."

View the original story on the Inside Indiana Business website