Geisinger joins Obama initiative to map genes of 1 million people
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 10.13.16
(Harrisburg) -- A midstate health system will soon be a part of a nationwide study of one million people; Geisinger Health is joining the initiative first pushed by President Obama.
Geisinger - which is affiliated with Holy Spirit Hospital in Cumberland County - aims to enroll 10,000 people in the first year of the study.
They'll get their genes mapped, and agree to offer up details about their diet and exercise, in the hopes researchers will get a better picture of what causes disease.
Dr. David Ledbetter, Geisinger's chief scientific officer, says the nationwide effort aims to move health care towards a more proactive approach.
"By determining for each individual, which diseases are they most likely to develop and what can we do before they develop the disease in terms of nutrition, diet, exercise, other environmental factors," says Ledbetter.
If Geisinger succesfully signs up 10,000 people in the first year, it expects to be asked to enroll another 140,000.
In total, the National Institutes of Health could give it $48 million for the work and research.
Geisinger has already run a similar study of its own that it says helped quickly detect ovarian cancer in a patient.
"We've already identified three cases of disease-causing mutations in these same genes. One of which identified an early-stage ovarian cancer that was surgically removed and the participant was started on chemotherapy," Ledbetter adds.
He says Geisinger will hire more staff to enroll more people in the nationwide program, and could be adding researchers as well.
Published in Healthcare Transformation