NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — A newly begun federal and private joint study will investigate the attitudes of young adults toward undergoing genetic testing for common diseases, and about how they would use information provided by such tests, the National Institutes of Health said yesterday.
The study, called the MultiPlex Initiative, aims to understand how the development of personalized medicine might be affected by the attitudes towards genetic testing held by individuals aged 25 to 40 years.
The study will be run by the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Cancer Institute, the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.
The MultiPlex Initiative will study 1,000 individuals in the metropolitan Detroit area and will include tests based on 15 genes linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, osteoporosis, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and malignant melanoma, the NIH said.
According to the NIH, the study will look into what types of individuals are and are not interested in receiving genetic testing, what influences their decisions, and how these individuals interact with the health care system.
It also aims to understand “how people who decide to take the tests will interpret and use the results in making their own health care decisions in the future,” the NIH said.
Eric Green, NHGRI’s scientific director, added that the initiative “will provide insights that will be key to advancing the concept of personalized medicine.”
Green said the study will be an “important first step” in determining the practicality of using genetic tests in the primary-care setting, and will offer data about how people receive and interpret information about their predisposition to certain diseases.
Researchers at the Ford Health System are recruiting and selecting individuals to participate in the study from the patient lists of the Health Alliance Plan, a Michigan managed-care group owned by Henry Ford Health System and the Henry Ford Medical Group.
The NHGRI’s Bioinformatics and Scientific Programming Core has designed “an innovative system for data collection and analysis” for the study, the NIH said. The Center for Inherited Disease Research, operated by the NIH and The Johns Hopkins University, will handle the genetic testing for the study.