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Rutgers establishes chair in genomic science named for developer Boraie

Developer Omar Boraie, for whom the Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science is named.
Developer Omar Boraie, for whom the Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science is named. - ()

Genomic science is a growing weapon in the fight against cancers, especially rare ones, and Rutgers University is establishing a chair to recognize achievements in the field.

The Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science, named after a New Brunswick developer, is one of the new chairs established by Rutgers’ “18 Chair Challenge” campaign — which will match an anonymous donor’s $1.5 million, resulting a $3 million endowment.

Genomic science and precision medicine are changing how cancer is diagnosed and treated.

“Although several cancer centers are performing next-generation gene sequencing on tumors for research, Rutgers Cancer Institute was one of the first facilities in the country and the only one in the state to apply genomic sequencing as a precision medicine approach to patient care,” Rutgers said in a statement.

Dr. Shridar Ganesan has been named to the Boraie chair. Ganesan is an associate director for translational science and principal investigator of the precision medicine clinical trial at Rutgers Cancer Institute, as well as associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Shridar Ganesan, holder of the Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science.
Dr. Shridar Ganesan, holder of the Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science. - ()

“What we have learned through the years is that cancer is not a single disease, but rather a collection of diseases, each with unique features. Instead of determining cancer type by only the organ in which it originates, time-saving genomic analysis opens the door for additional classification by the set of changes present in each cancer, which can guide more precise — or tailored — therapy,” Ganesan said.

Boraie applauded Rutgers’ efforts in pursuing treatment for all cancers.

“I am hopeful this pledge will leverage the support of others so that this important work can satisfy and exceed that goal,” said Boraie, who has a background in chemistry and interest in cancer research. “Just as the anonymous donor for the ‘18 Chair Challenge’ encouraged others to come forward, I hope my family’s pledge will also inspire others to do the same.”

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