Skip to content Skip to navigation

Genomic Medicine Clinic in Alabama Opens its Doors

November 25, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Last week, a genomic medicine clinic opened in Huntsville, Ala. with the aim of utilizing the power of the genomic sequence to identify the causes of illness in children and adults with undiagnosed disease.

The clinic said it is believed to be the first in the world designed solely for providing diagnoses to patients with undiagnosed disease via the exclusive use of whole genome sequencing data. The Smith Family Clinic is a collaboration between HudsonAlpha, Children’s of Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medicine. UAB’s Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) diagnoses and treats patients with undiagnosed diseases, also using DNA sequencing for diagnosis. The program is expanding in January to two clinics, with adults being seen at the Kaul Genetics Building at UAB and pediatric patients being seen at a new clinic located at Children’s of Alabama.

“There are 30 million people living with rare and undiagnosed diseases in this country. Many have been on diagnostic odysseys for an average of seven years, often without a diagnosis. We now have the tools and the team to markedly improve the rate of diagnosis, which is the first step in providing a treatment,” Howard Jacob, Ph.D., executive vice president for genomic medicine at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and chief medical genomics officer for the clinic, said in a statement.

The clinic is more than 4,500 square feet and has 25 rooms housed in the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified 701 McMillian Way location. It has telemedicine capabilities so diagnoses may be delivered remotely in collaboration with physicians offsite. Genetic counselors will provide pre- and post- sequencing counseling in the clinic, officials said.

“What makes this clinic unique is not only our focus on undiagnosed disease—but also that we will exclusively sequence the whole genome, rather than just part of the genome,” David Bick, M.D., genetic researcher, said in a statement. “Sequencing the whole genome gives us a much larger data set, and we know by experience that many disease-causing variants aren’t identified by sequencing the exome or panels of genes alone."



CMS Hospital Compare Website Updated with VA Data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the inclusion of Veterans Administration (VA) hospital performance data as part of the federal agency’s Hospital Compare website.

CMS Awards Funding to Special Innovation Projects

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded 20, two-year Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) aimed at local efforts to deliver better care at lower cost.

Center of Excellence in Genomic Science to be Established in Chicago

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $10.6 million over five years for the establishment of a new research center in Chicago to advance genomic science.

EHNAC and HITRUST Combine HIPAA Security Criteria, CSF Framework

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) announced plans to streamline their accreditation and certification programs.

Halamka on MACRA Final Rule: “CMS is Listening and I Thank Them”

Health IT notable expert John Halamka, M.D., CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, recently weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule.

Texas Patient Care Clinic Hit with Ransomware Attack

Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.