Precision Medicine Research: Supporting Discovery and Innovation in the Study of Renal Disease

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Photo of the Late Manuel Velasquez, MD

The GW Medical Faculty Associates recently received a gift from Personalized Medicine Care Diagnostics (PMCDx), an advanced molecular diagnostic testing laboratory, in memory of Manny Velasquez, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at GW SMHS and a long-time nephrologist at the GW MFA, who passed away in January 2021 just five days after his 82nd birthday.

The generous donation will support research into the use of precision medicine in treating renal disease at the GW MFA’s Kidney Precision Medicine Clinic. Through the gift, the clinic will launch pilot studies to test the utility of pharmacogenomics in transplant medicine to tailor immunosuppression.

“Dr. Velasquez dedicated his life to helping those in need and making a difference in countless lives,” said Sherry Dadgar, PhD ’13, clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, and founder and director of PMCDx. “His selflessness and kindness were an inspiration to all who knew him.”

She added, “this donation is a way to honor his memory and continue his legacy. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a cause that Dr. Velasquez cared deeply about, and we hope that this donation helps to further his important work.”

The Kidney Precision Medicine Clinic was established to identify the gene variants associated with the kidney disease and deliver targeted treatment for the condition. 

“Identification of the genetic underpinning for the CKD may have a profound effect on the management of kidney disease,” explained Divya Shankaranarayanan, MBBS, assistant professor of medicine and the founding director of the Kidney Precision Medicine Clinic. “Genetic testing could not only avoid unnecessary treatments, but also permit use of specific therapy to which the condition is most likely to respond. Furthermore, unknowing the gene variant will alert the clinicians to look for not yet manifested multisystem diseases.”

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