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Geisinger Health System Wins $3.6M NIH Grant to Study Genetics of Cancer Risk

NEW YORK – Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System said on Thursday that it has received a $3.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research into the genetic underpinnings of cancer risk.

The grant is part of a five-year initiative through which Geisinger researchers, in collaboration with researchers at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, will investigate how specific genetic variants affect cancer risk.

The research will draw on genetics and electronic-health record data available through Geisinger's MyCode Community Health Initiative, a precision medicine project with more than 276,000 participants that has already facilitated research and a number of published studies, including on exome sequencing-based screening for cancer risk.

With the new grant, researchers led by Geisinger's David Carey, principal investigator of MyCode, and Douglas Stewart, senior investigator at NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Clinical Genetics Branch, hope to expand the list of known cancer risk variants, and in turn improve patient screening and care.

"This partnership allows Geisinger and NCI investigators to combine our expertise in cancer diagnosis, epidemiology, cancer biology, and genetics," Carey said in a statement. "The data available through MyCode provides us with a unique opportunity to investigate the genetic risk of cancer in a large regional population."