A Natural Extension of UCLA’s Precision Health Efforts
CNRC builds off the momentum and infrastructure of UCLA’s precision medicine initiative, which uses sophisticated new technology to identify the right treatment for each patient. As a result of this work, scientists across multiple specialties have access to data points from thousands of patients to establish potential hypotheses. UCLA’s expertise in bioinformatics helps us analyze and present this genomic sequencing data in ways that accelerate research.
We are leveraging these resources to facilitate large-scale genomic studies for brain disease. This infrastructure is accelerating the pace of scientific discovery so that we may someday have the ability to develop unique treatments for every patient with neurological disease.
We have also established a universal consent process that enables us to be transparent with research participants about our studies while still facilitating novel research. Applying precision health tools and learning to CNRC efforts brings us closer to our goal of changing the landscape for select medical conditions. Read more about our Institute for Precision Health.
Additional Neurogenomics Capabilities
Additional UCLA capabilities that support our neurogenomics research include:
Robust data collection and biobanking capabilities
UCLA is experienced in creating biobanks to support clinical research. Our biobanks house hundreds of thousands of records.
Biobanks differ from other biospecimen repositories, like blood or tissue banks, in their ability to house vast quantities of samples and multiple types of data. Our dedicated neurogenomics biobank is the first of its kind and is growing by thousands of records each year.
We start by collecting blood or saliva samples for genomic analysis. For some studies, we may also request blood, skin, muscle or lumbar puncture samples. The infrastructure established by our precision medicine program makes it possible to link biosamples with a patient’s phenotype (electronic health record data). These linkages allow researchers to learn more about research participants’ health histories when necessary.
Collaboration with other UCLA scientists
Partnerships with other UCLA scientists are speeding discovery by allowing us to test hypotheses about brain disease. These scientists include renowned researchers in areas such as genetics, neurobiology and pharmacology.
We share observations with these scientists, who explore the data further in their labs to help us answer important questions. For example, we can learn more about the biologic mechanisms affected by a mutation that causes brain disease by collaborating with UCLA’s molecular neurobiologists.
Our departments’ close geographic proximity to each other fosters a level of collaboration that few academic medical centers can match. Find out more about why innovation lives here.
Intentional steps toward patient access
We have taken steps to give researchers access to necessary patient data, and patients access to medically actionable findings:
- Most UCLA Neurology patients have the option to participate in CNRC research. Our approach gives scientists access to a large, diverse patient population representing a broad range of ages, genders, races, ethnicities and brain disease diagnoses.
- If research yields medically actionable findings, such as new care methods or treatments, we are easily able to identify the patients who are most likely to benefit from them.