DNAnexus, UPMC, and Sutter Health network said today they have launched a large-scale clinico-genomic multiple sclerosis (MS) research study aimed at improving personalized treatments for people with the group of 30+ inherited neuromuscular diseases.
Under the collaboration, whose value was not disclosed, researchers at the Sutter Health Center for Precision Medicine will input de-identified clinico-genomic datasets from more than 3,000 patients to the DNAnexus Apollo Platform, with the goal of enabling rapid analysis, visualization, and collaboration within a secure environment.
The Genome Center at UPMC, a CLIA/CAP-certified industrial-scale sequencing center in Pittsburgh, will generate clinical-grade genomic data from samples contributed by the program’s participants, DNAnexus and Sutter said.
“Datasets generated in a real-world setting will propel Sutter Health to the forefront of MS research worldwide,” Gregory Tranah, Ph.D., director of the Center for Precision Medicine at Sutter Health, said in a statement. “Collaborating with DNAnexus allows access to cutting-edge bioinformatics tools to better understand our clinically meaningful ‘big data.’ This is an important step to advance precision medicine efforts across Sutter and, ultimately, to improve treatments for people with MS in our community and the millions of people affected with the disease worldwide.”
Beginning in May, Sutter researchers plan to enroll more than 500 MS patients in the first phase of the new study, which is designed to collect electronic health record (EHR) data, patient-reported outcomes, imaging data, and blood samples in addition to whole exome sequencing (WES) performed by UPMC.
DNAnexus bioinformaticians will process WES data through analysis pipelines and link the resulting genetic data with clinical data on the DNAnexus Apollo Platform. Sutter Health clinicians, researchers, and approved collaborators plan to use the platform to assess patients’ clinical and genomic features that correlate with MS subtypes, disability progression, staging, symptoms, MRI changes, and differential response to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
Through the study, DNAnexus will launch its new Clinico-Genomic Data Solution, a program intended to address demand for high-quality, longitudinal, disease-specific datasets by establishing a network of healthcare partners dedicated to improving screening, diagnosis, and treatment pathways for complex diseases.
The network is designed to facilitate an ongoing data stream hosted on the DNAnexus Apollo Platform to support precision health initiatives and drug discovery programs at leading cancer centers, academic institutions, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies, DNAnexus and Sutter said.
MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide, including more than 450,000 people in the U.S., where approximately 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“With its diverse patient population and powerful EHR data on long-term MS patients, the team at Sutter Health is poised to lead this next era of precision medicine for MS,” added DNAnexus CEO Richard Daly. “We are looking forward to working with Sutter and UPMC on this MS study and other real-world data projects for additional complex disorders in the future.”