Mount Sinai to launch $100M center dedicated to AI, precision medicine

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai plans to open an approximately $100 million research center focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and precision medicine in Manhattan in late 2021.

Announced Wednesday, officials said the Hamilton and Amabel James Center for Artificial Intelligence and Human Health will focus on three key areas: the new Center for Genomic Health; integrative omics and multiscale disease modeling; and precision imaging.

The center was made possible by a donation of an undisclosed amount from investment firm Blackstone Group's Hamilton Evans "Tony" James and his wife Amabel.

The space and the programs within it, some funded by other sources, comprise about a $100 million investment, according to Bloomberg. Blackstone is the world’s second-largest owner of life sciences office space and has invested about $20 billion in healthcare, according to the company, Bloomberg reported.

The new center will open with approximately 40 principal investigators and 250 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, computer scientists and support staff, officials said. The building will enable researchers to enhance their understanding, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases—including the most debilitating—and promote improved health and well-being. 

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Mount Sinai said it will be the first center in New York to seamlessly integrate AI, data science and genomic screening to advance clinical practice and patient outcomes.

The announcement comes just two months after Mount Sinai Health System announced it was teaming up with the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany to launch a new $15 million digital health center based at Mount Sinai in New York City with the aim of accelerating the use of AI and other emerging technologies in clinical care.  

It is the latest of several AI research institutes as health systems and academic medical centers make big investments in the future of AI to transform healthcare.

Novant Health, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just announced the Novant Health Institute of Innovation & Artificial Intelligence, which will use AI to enhance personalized patient care. Cleveland Clinic plans to open a Center for Clinical Artificial Intelligence and Stony Brook University also recently opened the Institute for AI-Driven Discovery and Innovation to advance AI research across multiple disciplines, including healthcare.

“Mount Sinai has consistently been at the forefront of advancing health care across medical disciplines and this initiative represents our next step forward in building on that legacy," Kenneth Davis, M.D., president and CEO of the Mount Sinai Health System, said in a statement. “We see the potential of artificial intelligence to radically transform the care that patients receive, and we want to shape and lead this effort."

RELATED: Mount Sinai, Hasso Plattner Institute launch new $15M digital health center

Mount Sinai clinicians and investigators have been early adopters of AI and currently use the technology in many different initiatives in precision medicine. AI technology is helping characterize tissue samples of patients with prostate cancer, for example, and is being used to assist Mount Sinai doctors in identifying and prioritizing patients at risk for developing diseases and hazards such as falling, health system officials said.

Noura Abul-Husn, M.D., clinical director of the Center for Genomic Health and senior faculty of medicine and genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said the use of big data and AI will enable the development of precise genomic tests and increasingly sophisticated ways to integrate genomic information into routine patient care.

Researchers also will use AI to enhance the diagnostic power of imaging technologies and molecular imaging.

“We see a huge potential in using algorithms to automate the image interpretation and to acquire images much more quickly at high resolution—so that we can better detect disease and make it less burdensome for the patient,” said Zahi Fayad, director of the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute and vice chair for research for the department of radiology at Mount Sinai.