The National Human Genome Research Institute, which is part of National Institutes of Health, has awarded two grants to Department of Medicine faculty that will total about $9 million over five years.
One grant establishes the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine, in partnership with the DCRI, as the coordinating center for a national initiative to move genomic medicine into broader clinical practice. Genomic medicine is a discipline that uses DNA and other molecular information to guide treatment and care.
“Genomic medicine has great potential to improve health, but its widespread implementation has been hampered by the lack of evidence of its clinical utility,” said principal investigator Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, PhD, professor of medicine (Cardiology) and director of the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine. “These new pragmatic genomic medicine clinical trials will provide that evidence.”
“As the coordinating center for this national network, we will create the genomic medicine knowledge base where ideas can be shared so that everyone can begin to use this in practice, whether in community clinics or academic medical centers,” Ginsburg said.
An additional grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute will fund one of the genomic network’s projects. The grant supports an initiative at Duke to gather the family medical histories of low-income patients to assess inherited risks for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases. Lori Orlando, MD, associate professor of medicine (General Internal Medicine), is the principal investigator of that project.
“Family health history is the most important and most readily available predictor of disease risk we have. Yet, it is broadly underutilized in clinical practice. Our study is building a platform that will help providers follow evidence -based guidelines for risk management,” Dr. Orlando said. “We believe this platform will help individuals who live in areas that don’t have easy access to genetic counseling or genetic testing.”