Rutgers Cancer Institute Launches the Omar Boraie Chair in Genomic Science

The newly established Omar Boraie Chair in Genome Science at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey will help to propel groundbreaking research in precision medicine, Endowed chairs are considered gold standards in higher education because they express the commitment that universities have put on growing academic disciplines at the highest levels, and ensure their continued support.

The Rutgers Cancer Institute chair is named for philanthropic New Brunswick real estate developer, Omar Boraie. The developer has pledged to donate $1.5 million to support it. The Omar Boraie Chair is part of the “18 Chair Challenge,” a campaign by Rutgers University. In the campaign, an anonymous donor provides $1.5 million to match each of the 18 new chairs. The result is a total endowment of $3million. Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a comprehensive cancer center with a national status.

Evolving Precision Medicine

Precision medicine and genomic science fields are changing the approach of medical doctors towards the diagnosis of cancer and its treatment. The relatively new field involves genetic-level treatment and analysis of cancerous tumors, which allows oncologists to prescribe individualized therapies correctly. The importance of precision medicine was attested during the recent state of the Union Address by President Barrack Obama. In the speech, the president proclaimed the launch of a nationwide precision medicine initiative.

Although presently several cancer research centers are performing next-generation gene sequencing, the Rutgers Cancer Institute was a national pioneer in the field. Genomic sequencing has been instrumental in coming up with novel therapies that help people with poor prognoses, rare cancers, and those with limited treatment options. Precision medicine advancements have allowed the classification of cancers into subpopulations sharing similar characteristics although they have different genetic make-up.

Omar Boraie said that he was happy with the work done at Rutgers Cancer Institute because it has made advances in precision medicine, especially for non-responsive patients. He wondered how awesome it would be if the science were applied to everybody suffering from cancer. He concluded by saying that he was hopeful that his family’s $1.5 million pledge would inspire other well-wishers to come out and support the cause.

Rutgers Institutes’ Director, Robert S. DiPaola, MD, said that the entire institute was grateful to Boraie’s generosity and support. He added that Boraie was an integral part of New Brunswick’s development as a “Healthcare City.” Shridar Ganesan, a principal investigator at the Rutgers Institute, was named to the Omar Boraie Chair. He is a medical oncologist who is also internationally renowned as a top academic leader and researcher.

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