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Geisinger Announces Big Data Genomics Project

January 13, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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Geisinger Health System, the large Danville, Pa.-based integrated health system, is throwing its hat into the genetics game, announcing a large-scale big data collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a Tarrytown, N.Y.-based biopharmaceutical company.

In the five year collaboration, Geisinger aims to collect samples from more than 100,000 consented patient volunteers, while Regeneron performs sequencing and genotyping to generate de-identified genomic data. To date, this will be one of the larger studied population of participants for the analysis and sequencing of genetic material and comparison to long-term health outcomes in the U.S.

The aim of the collaboration will focus on patients with chronic conditions, according to David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Geisinger Health System. In a prepared statement, Dr. Ledbetter said this collaboration has the potential to provide the system with tools to transform its ability to foresee disease before the onset of symptoms, diagnose chronic and potentially fatal conditions before it's too late to intervene, and determine how best to optimize the health and well-being for each of its patients.

Geisinger is just the latest healthcare organization to make a personalized medicine. In May of last year, New York’s  Mount Sinai Medical Center announced that 25,000 people signed on to participate in its biobank program, BioMe, where each patient has broadly consented to DNA sequencing, contact from researchers, and longitudinal studies related to data embedded in the electronic medical record (EMR). 

Also last year, Cerner, the Kansas City-based EMR vendor, announced it was teaming with Cambridge, Mass.-based Claritas Genomics, a clinical genetic diagnostic testing company, to integrate personalized medicine technology into clinical practice.



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