Seven investigators have won a combined $18.9 million in grants from the NIH toward research intended to accelerate use of genome sequencing in non-academic clinical settings, with emphasis on serving diverse groups and individuals.
The new grants are aimed at supporting the development of methods to integrate genome sequencing into the practice of medicine, investigate the impact of genome sequencing on healthcare outcomes, and improve the discovery and interpretation of genomic variants, the NIH said.
The research is being funded as part of the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER2) Consortium. During the current federal fiscal year, which ends September 30, CSER2 is awarding grants for projects at six clinical sites, and at a coordinating center responsible for assuring effective coordination and logistic support, and identifying synergies that increase the scientific value of the six projects. The awards are planned for a total of four years.
The six clinical sites funded by the CSER2 consortium are those of:
- Jonathan Berg, M.D., Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
- Gregory Cooper, Ph.D., HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Huntsville, AL.
- Katrina Goddard, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland, OR.
- Eimear Kenny, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.
- Pui-Yan Kwok, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco.
- Sharon Plon, M.D., Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.
The clinical sites—which have all committed to recruiting at least 60% of participants from diverse or underserved settings—will include research covering geographical areas that include racially diverse populations in Houston, as well as in Harlem and the Bronx, New York City, the NIH said.
Each project will address additional areas that are common across CSER2 sites, such as the effectiveness of treatment decisions; patient and familial response to genomic testing; patient-provider-laboratory interactions that influence the use of genome sequencing; and integrating genomic, clinical and healthcare data to build a shared evidence base for clinical decision making.
Receiving CSER2 Coordinating Center funding is Gail Jarvik, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle.
CSER2 is designed to build upon the work of the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) Consortium, launched in 2010 and funded by two NIH institutes, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI).
CSER2 will also continue to include collaborators such as those from the NHGRI Intramural ClinSeq study, the NIH said.
NHGRI and NCI have partnered with another NIH institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), to improve recruitment and retention of patients for 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,” Regina Smith James, M.D., director of clinical and health services research at NIMHD, said in a statement.