NEW YORK – WellSpan Health and Helix on Thursday announced a partnership to develop a population genomics program aimed at improving healthcare outcomes.
Program participants from WellSpan, a regional health system in Pennsylvania, will contribute a DNA sample, which will be analyzed on Helix's Exome+ platform, with the results integrated into patients' electronic medical records.
Through the program, WellSpan hopes to better understand the health of its patient population and to help researchers learn the root causes of certain diseases as well as their most effective treatments.
WellSpan also plans to leverage Helix’s "Sequence Once, Query Often" model, enabling the company to run future tests without needing to collect additional samples from each patient. In addition to clinically actionable disease screening, Helix will also support recruitment and engagement, return of results, and basic and translational research.
Personally identifying information will be removed from the genomic data for research use, while patients, whose participation is optional and comes at no cost, will have access to their own data. This enables them to share their results with providers, who might in turn be better able to estimate patient risk for serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, proactively mitigate those risks, and develop precision healthcare plans.
Helix has been active in the population genomics field for several years, rolling out a new population genomics method earlier this year and partnering with translational research company Anuva to create a multi-population Asian genomic dataset this summer.
WellSpan will provide details on how to request program participation in early 2023, prior to the official launch of the soon-to-be-named program.