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Vol. LX, No. 25
December 12, 2008

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Grady Participates in GU Panel on Systems Medicine

NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady spoke recently at a Georgetown University panel.
NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady spoke recently at a Georgetown University panel.

As part of recent convocation ceremonies at Georgetown University Medical Center, NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady took part in a panel discussion on “Systems Medicine & Health Care Delivery.”

Dr. Bette Jacobs, dean of Georgetown’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, moderated the panel, which also included Dr. Leroy Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology; Dr. Gregory Downing, project director for the Personalized Healthcare Initiative at HHS; and Dr. Frederick S. Lee, product manager for personalized medicine and genomics at the McKesson Corp. The panelists spoke on the potential impact of systems medicine. According to Hood, a systems view of medicine perceives the functions of life as mediated by biological networks; human disease occurs when one or more of these networks become perturbed, such as by abnormal environmental signals or genetic mutations.

Grady described how nursing fits into this model by translating new research findings into clinical practice. “Nurse scientists will lead or contribute to many of the groundbreaking advances,” Grady said. “This is reflected in the science we support today. NINR has made the integration of bio-logy, behavior and environment a fundamental tenet of its research portfolio.”

Grady noted that recent breakthroughs have contributed new knowledge about genetic and protein biomarkers that can improve predictions of not only who is at greater risk for certain diseases, but also who is most likely to respond to treatment. For example, she said, “Scientists are using new genetic and proteomic tools to better determine an individual’s response to pain and treatments for pain.” This research has increased the understanding of individual variations in response to analgesic treatments for chronic pain conditions.

“The coming years will bring many significant advances in understanding health and disease in terms of systems biology, but the translation of these discoveries into improved patient health will be the responsibility of those individuals on the front lines at the patient interface of health care. Now is the time to prepare for the coming changes,” Grady concluded. NIHRecord Icon

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