has announced a $120 million gift — the second-largest ever made by a living donor to a group or institution in San Diego County — from local businessman Ernest Rady to establish a pediatric genomics institute.
The gift will enable the hospital — which already has a site where gene-sequencing analysis can be performed — and affiliated researchers and technicians to gather and analyze genetic data from its pediatric patients, with the goal of identifying genetic disorders and customizing treatments based on individual patients' genetic makeup. Rady Children's board of trustees has committed an additional $40 million in funding for the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute, which will be housed in two facilities — one adjacent to the hospital and one near other research institutes in the area.
"We're not just focusing on sequencers, the hardware end of things. We are focusing on understanding the data," David Brenner, dean of the and a member of the Rady board, told the . "This will be an amazing opportunity for children. It'll first be offered to those with known diseases that can be worked out genetically. Then, over time, we'll offer it to any child who comes through our doors so that we can better correlate genes to disease."
Already the donor of the largest gift in the hospital's history, Rady, the founder of American Assets, Inc., served on the Children's Hospital-San Diego board in the 1980s and 1990s and chaired the Children's Hospital and Health Center board from 1990 to 1993.
"As we move into an exciting new era of medicine," he said, "it is our responsibility to encourage the ambitious research and innovation that will accelerate the process by which discoveries are made and translated into cures."