Intermountain Healthcare is teaming with a human genome analytics vendor for what it contends is the largest and most comprehensive domestic DNA mapping effort to date from a single population.
The study, which will involve the collection of half a million DNA samples from Intermountain Healthcare’s patient population, seeks to establish new links between genetics and diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer and heart disease.
Iceland-based deCODE genetics—a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen—has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of common diseases and will analyze the genomes of the study’s 500,000 participants, who will consent to the testing and have the option to receive their genetic results report if a clinically significant gene mutation is identified.
“While the 500,000 samples will be collected primarily from patients in Utah, the research is expected to have a global impact as medications, treatments, and healthcare innovations that can benefit patients universally are developed from the findings,” says Lincoln Nadauld, MD, Intermountain’s chief of precision health. “The collaboration is noteworthy and unique in its size, scope and immediate application to patient care.”
The HerediGene: Population Study is voluntary and free to participants, whose data will be de-identified to ensure anonymity before it is used for research, according to Intermountain.
“This unique collaboration is expected to uncover new insights into some of society’s most debilitating diseases,” says Kári Stefánsson, MD, founder and CEO of deCODE genetics. “Our partnership with Intermountain Healthcare is important as we continue to identify and validate human disease targets. These potential discoveries will allow deCODE and Amgen to rapidly develop new medicines that reach the right disease targets.”
“Better health and being able to cure common diseases is the promise of precision medicine, but it’s not happening fast enough,” adds Marc Harrison, MD, Intermountain’s president and CEO. “For too long, the genetic code to better health has been locked. This collaboration with deCODE unlocks that insight so we can rapidly advance well-being—not only for ourselves and our families, but for generations to come.”
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