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NIH Accelerates the Use of Genomics Sequencing in Clinical Care

Bethesda, MD, October 13, 2017 — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) on August 8 announced it is awarding $18.9 million towards research that aims to accelerate the use of genome sequencing in clinical care.

The new awards will generate innovative approaches and best practices to ensure that the effectiveness of genomic medicine can be applied to all individuals and groups, including diverse and underserved populations, and in healthcare settings that extend beyond academic medical centers.

The research is being funded as part of the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER2) Consortium. CSER2 builds upon the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) Consortium, initiated in 2010 and funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), both part of NIH.

The new grants will support the development of methods needed to integrate genome sequencing into the practice of medicine, improve the discovery and interpretation of genomic variants, and investigate the impact of genome sequencing on healthcare outcomes.

“CSER’s initial goal was more exploratory in nature to see if we could, in fact, integrate genome sequencing into clinical care,” said Lucia Hindorff, Ph.D., M.P.H., a program director in NHGRI’s Division of Genomic Medicine.

“The exploratory focus allowed each site to develop its own approach. Working together, CSER investigators were effective in identifying common challenges and opportunities for advancing this integration.”

With this new round of funding, CSER2 investigators will continue the effort to generate evidence for the usefulness of genome sequencing in clinical care, but with a particular focus on diverse and underserved individuals.

To that end, NHGRI and NCI have partnered with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to improve processes for recruiting and retaining patients to participate in research from diverse racial and ethnic groups, as well as from currently understudied clinical healthcare settings where genomic medicine could potentially be put into practice.

“Engaging patient populations that are traditionally underrepresented in genomics research, coupled with the inclusion of broader types of healthcare settings, will enrich the data that result from CSER2,” said Regina Smith James, M.D., director of Clinical and Health Services Research at NIMHD.

For the complete NIH press release, click here.