NIH funds to move precision medicine closer to reality

6 September 2015

New funding from the US National Institutes of Health is aimed at finding the best ways to incorporate genomic data alongside electronic medical records.

The ultimate goal of the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network, established in 2007, is to facilitate personalised or precision medicine: gaining better understanding of the genomic basis of disease, and where possible using this knowledge and the patient’s own genomic data to individually tailor their medical care. The network connects medical research bodies with wide-ranging expertise across the US.

The new grants are the third phase of the eMERGE programme and seek to accelerate the transfer of genomics research into clinical application, focusing on the effects of variants in ‘clinically relevant’ genes that can affect treatment decisions. Research will include examination of the best ways for provision of genomic test results to doctors and patients, and the psychological / behavioural and economic impact of testing on patients and families, and the effects on healthcare systems.

Different research teams within the network will focus on different conditions, including familial hypercholesterolemia and familial colorectal cancer, chronic rhinosinusitis, obesity, epilepsy and autism, among many others.

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