September 26, 2013
Despite considerable advances in science and technology, sequencing has generally not entered routine clinical care. The endeavor of the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI, part of the National Institutes for Health) is to try to change this situation. It has just announced the second round of Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) grant awardees at four institutions around USA. “These grants aim to answer questions about how genomic sequencing might be used in the treatment of several disorders, and to assess how this information is used by doctors and patients. Each research group must also answer questions about how to generate and communicate the sequence data, and how clinicians and patients cope with the psychosocial and ethical dilemmas this information can present.” explains Lucia Hindorff, program director for CSER at NHGRI.
Katrina Goddard, a genetic epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, OR, and a new CSER grantee, along with her colleague Benjamin Wilfond, is showing how genomic sequencing can be used even before a person is born. Sequencing data could be used by couples in order to make more informed choices about carrier status and pregnancy risk for inherited disorders.
Richard Myers’ team from Hudson-Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, will sequence the genomes of 500 children diagnosed with a developmental disorder, as well as both of their parents in order to identify genetic markers common to the disorders and speed up the diagnostic process.
Arul Chinnaiyan’s research group at the University of Michigan, will focus on sarcomas and other rare cancers, sequencing the tumour cells to determine any common genetic alterations in these cancers.
The last research group, is located in the University of Washington and includes Gail Jarvik and Wylie Burke. They will build a coordinating center, weaving together the various strands of everyone’s research into a large tapestry of data.