The CC-PM’s 54 professional members and their research groups bring expertise from many different departments of ETH and different medical faculties of the University Zurich and the University Hospitals of Zurich. The focus of CC-PM is research in genome-based personalized medicine. Associated with CC-PM are technology platforms to support these research activities. They offer specific services for the members. Initially, two technology platforms have been established, namely Biobanking led by UZH/USZ and NEXUS, led by ETH, which comprises high-throughput cell-based sreening and data management and analysis.
The biobanking unit compiles an archive of well-characterized sample material. This method is typical of oncological research: Tumor tissue is collected and subjected to a cell-based screening for their function or dysfunction, respectively. Currently, this technology platform is adding to their existing tissue & cell archive a liquid biobanking branch comprising, e.g., blood samples. A centralized tissue biobank exists at the University Hospital Zurich. Over the last decade, this large tissue biobank supported researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, University Zurich, ETH Zurich and international research groups. The CC-PM aims to strengthen this central biobanking platform and to develop it into a transparent community-oriented service, and it supports activities to set up a Liquid Biobank at the University Hospital Zurich. The University Hospital Zurich has officially announced in January 2015 to realize the concept of a liquid biobank.
ETH Technology Platform for Personalized Medicine
NEXUS Personalized Health Technologies is an ETH Technology Platform created to enable and accelerate the execution of translational research projects by providing key technological resources, tools and collaboration opportunities for the personalized health research community.
NEXUS is built around interdisciplinary technology units that are staffed with professional scientists. Currently, NEXUS encompasses two units - Clinical Bioinformatics and Theragnostics Discovery.
The Clinical Bioinformatics Unit (CBU) provides computational expertise to process large-scale heterogeneous data. Its scientists offer support in ‘omics’ and statistical data analyses, and work cooperatively with the research community towards developing solutions for the integration of ‘omics’ data and clinical information. These include the development of decision support systems for oncologists, which are based on the analysis of genome sequencing data of patient tumor samples.
The Theragnostics Discovery Unit (TDU) provides state-of-the-art robotic screening and analytic technologies, chemical libraries and genome-scale gene manipulation tools. The team comprises scientists from different disciplines ranging from biology and chemistry to engineering. They provide their integrated expertise to assist the research community in pursuit of innovative projects related to chemical hit identification, lead development and molecular circuit analyses.
A recent initiative of NEXUS is the establishment of an organoid biobank. Organoids are stem cell-derived epithelial ‘mini organs’ that can be established from human normal and diseased tissues and mouse models of disease. They can be maintained and propagated for in-depth molecular profiling and functional studies as well as investigations of responses to chemical and therapeutic agents. With this initiative, researchers will have access to an advanced cell system and preclinical model to tackle challenging projects for understanding and treating human disease.