The Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics (ICG) was established in 2016 by the Beijing Municipal Government as a leading multi-disciplinary research center at Peking University. The center focuses on resolving major problems about human health and provides new health care solutions to the general public using cutting-edge genomic and sequencing technologies. It aims to become an internationally recognized leading institution at the forefront of genomic medicine. The center aspires to become a first-class player in the genomic revolution by maintaining the focus on fundamental research and promoting the translation of genomic technologies into medical diagnosis.
“Advanced” has three implications. First, ICG aims at not only making scientific discoveries that have fundamental impact, but also meeting the urgent and long-term needs of the society. Secondly, ICG will attract highly talented and internationally recognized scientists from around the world and will also train young scientists that promise great potential. Third, ICG will translate fundamental genomic research into cutting-edge clinical applications in medicine.
Life is about birth and death. Regarding birth, China has the largest population in the world; hence reproductive medicine is of great significance. There are more than 7,000 known monogenetic diseases. China suffers from a high rate of birth defects of 5.6%, which is twice the rate existing in developed countries, due to monogenetic disorders and chromosome abnormalities. With the recent second-child policy in China, there will be more women over 35 years old wishing to be pregnant but subject to a much higher risk of infertility problems, such as chromosome abnormalities, or newborns with severe genetic defects. Consequently, the demand for assisted reproductive technologies is rising sharply. Regarding death, cancer is the number one killer in China, with over 3 million newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. The probability for a Chinese to have cancer during his or her life is as high as 22%, with a 13% chance of dying from it. While many advances have been recently made in targeted- and immune-therapies for cancer patients, early diagnosis of cancer remains to be in high-demand but still extremely challenging. Therefore, genomic diagnosis is important for both reducing the propagation of life-threatening genetic defects in newborns and deaths related to cancer worldwide.
The long-term mission of ICG is to improve reproductive health and reduce cancer-related deaths, through the development and application of cutting-edge genomic technologies, such as precision genomics, accurate genome editing, and functional analyses of the human genome. To reach this goal, ICG has established a highly stimulating, collaborative and multi-disciplinary research environment suitable for translational research.