PMI Programs

The Personalized Medicine Initiative is not a separate service of the health system, but is woven into all hospital service lines and outpatient centers to optimize and personalize care.

3D Tissue Printing & Imaging Innovation

The PMI is focusing on emerging imaging technologies, with current focuses on 3D printing and surface imaging, to tailor care to specific patient characteristics. 3D models can be used to create personalized medical devices and serve as important tools guiding surgeons in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects and other medical challenges.

Surface imaging systems provide visual reference to capture anatomically precise images for surgical assessment and intervention. The sequential-3D systems support plastic surgeons in optimizing care practice for patients with craniofacial differences and more. The team is also assessing the potential of virtual reality and augmented reality, along with other emerging technologies.

Biobank

The hospital’s biobank and tissue repository is an essential resource for personalized medicine research efforts, enabling the study of both health and disease over time. The Nicklaus Children’s biobank collects samples and health information from volunteers, regardless of health history. Once a participant becomes part of the Biobank, he or she contributes to ongoing health research.
The biobank partners with national leaders on specimen storage, management and integration with participant health information.

Genomic Medicine

The hospital has launched concerted efforts in pediatric genomic medicine through a generous contribution from philanthropist Denny Sanford and Sanford Health.
The following projects are currently in progress:

  • Utilization of rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) for children receiving care in the hospital’s three intensive care units to support diagnosis and treatment of critically ill children suspected to have an underlying genetic condition.
  • Use of whole genome sequencing for patients and families on a “diagnostic odyssey” – a protracted search for a diagnosis of a rare genetic condition – offering answers that can help guide future medical care.
  • Implementation of pharmacogenomics or matching a patient’s genetics to support medication selection.

Minority populations, including Hispanics and African Americans, are underrepresented in genomics. An estimated 96 percent of all known genetic information comes from people of Northern European heritage. In a multi-ethnic community like South Florida, this creates challenges in applying genomics to medicine.
Research studies within the PMI will garner information that will help build a database of common genomes from underrepresented minorities to support understanding of the population’s predisposition to certain diseases and responses to medications.