Intermountain Healthcare awarded Utah Governor’s Medal for Precision Genomics program

Intermountain Healthcare Precision Genomics lab, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A cancer research program founded in St. George has won the Utah Governor’s Science Medal for Industry.

Intermountain Cancer Center, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

The award for Intermountain Healthcare’s Precision Genomics program was announced Wednesday by Gov. Gary Herbert, leaders of the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative and the Governor’s Office for Economic Development.

According to a press release issued by Intermountain Healthcare, the award is the highest honor bestowed by the state of Utah to residents and companies who have made significant contributions in scientific and technological fields.

The Precision Genomics program analyzes individual differences in genetics, environments and lifestyles and gives medical professionals the resources to specifically identify treatments and target the illnesses of each patient.

The program’s DNA testing typically matches late-stage cancer patients with medications that can lengthen their lives, improve their quality of life and reduce side-effects in their treatment at about the same cost of traditional cancer therapies.

“Precision medicine has opened doors that have allowed us to make a real impact on numerous people in the communities we serve,” Lincoln Nadauld, chief of Precision Health for Intermountain Healthcare, said in the press release. “The best part is that we’re just scratching the surface. There’s much more to come that will help patients, our friends, our neighbors, and our families to live the healthiest lives possible.”

Lincoln Nadauld, director of Precision Genomics at Intermountain Healthcare, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

Intermountain Precision Genomics initially focused on providing targeted therapy options for late-stage cancers. New research is also beginning for treatments in other fields of medicine, including opioid dependence, cardiovascular health and medication metabolism.

The program’s expertise draws from Intermountain’s massive biorepository, which stores more than 3 million tissue samples used to advance cancer treatment and other research.

Governor’s Science Medal

Since 1987, the Governor’s Science Medal for Industry has been awarded to individuals and organizations who’ve made significant contributions to scientific and technological knowledge, education and industry. An advisory panel reviews all nominations and selects the winners.

“It’s an unexpected honor and a thrill to receive this lofty recognition,” Nadauld said. “We’ve long admired previous recipients of this award and we’re humbled to receive it.”

Precision Genomics will officially receive the award on April 1 during Herbert’s Utah Technology and Innovation Summit.

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