Global Alliance for Genomics and Health marks two years of progress

18 June 2015

An international coalition dedicated to improving human health by maximising the potential of genomic medicine marked its second anniversary this month. Last week, 250 members convened for the alliance’s third plenary meeting to build on efforts and drive results.

The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) took its first steps in June 2013 to form an international alliance dedicated to enabling secure sharing of genomic and clinical data. The Alliance’s Working Groups have already developed products that lay a technical and regulatory foundation for data sharing such as a regulatory framework to guide the responsible sharing of genomic and health-related data. Now, the alliance is building on such early foundational products to develop tools to facilitate interoperability, such as new consent and privacy and security policies policies and a ‘data sharing start-up kit’.

At the alliance’s third plenary, held in the Netherlands, members shared progress on developments in innovative, integrated solutions to promote genomic and clinical data sharing, as well as the creation of a global learning system in genomic medicine. Also up for discussion was current work on emerging areas of interest like e-Health, as well as the challenges of  big data and how these can be best aligned with current efforts in Genomic medicine to drive results.

Chair of the GA4GH Steering Committee, David Altshuler noted the alliance had become a ‘vibrant international effort’ but highlighted that the need for GQ4GH remains. “In 2015 our mission is more critical than ever, as we increasingly see genomic information having positive impact on diagnosis, targeting and development of new medicines.”

Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins said: “The future of medicine requires a collective commitment to developing scalable and interoperable approaches to sharing data”. 

PHG Foundation, member of GQ4GH, has released a new healthcare manifesto in which we urge support for effective, responsible and secure data sharing as an imperative for harnessing innovation.

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