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TGen Launches Clinical Branch of Rare Childhood Diseases Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Translational Genomics Research Institute held a ribbon-cutting today to launch a new clinic within the Center for Rare Childhood Disorders that will focus on using genomic and molecular techniques to diagnose and treat such disorders.

TGen said on Monday that the new clinical center in Phoenix will use genome sequencing of patients to determine specific molecular causes of these rare disorders.

"We want to use genetic information to understand more about particular disorders, and develop novel approaches to treatment," Matt Huentelman, co-director of the new center and an associate professor in TGen's Neurogenomics Division, said in a statement. "That is what is going to differentiate us from other services — complete integration of the clinical center and the genomic research lab."

In its first project, called Genetic Studies of Patients and their Families with Neurological Diseases of Unknown Etiology, the center is studying DNA and RNA structures to discover the genetic and epigenetic contributions to neurological disorders that doctors have not been able to diagnose in children and young adults.

"At TGen, we now have the tools to sequence the entire genome of these children, in a relatively short time and at ever-lower costs," David Craig, TGen's deputy director of bioinformatics and co-director of the center, said in the statement. "Through this examination of the billions of chemical letters that spell out each human being's unique genome, and analyzing all the potential genetic changes, or mutations, we now have the ability to potentially identify the root cause of each child's condition."