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Children's Mercy Lands $1M for Clinical Sequencing Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City said today that it has received a $1 million grant to fund its Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine, which aims to use genome sequencing in the clinical care of newborns.

The gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation will support the expansion of a sequencing-based program that Children's Mercy has developed by enabling the hospital to buy new equipment and bring in additional staff.

CMH said the support will enable the genomics center to pursue a program to rapidly sequence and analyze the genomes of critically ill patients in the neonatal intensive care unit and those of their parents, with the aim of helping to diagnose and treat genetic diseases.

The hospital has been developing its STAT-Seq method to conduct the genomic analysis, and last fall published proof-of-principle study results showing that this method could provide results in around 50 hours for an estimated total cost of $13,500 and out-of-pocket cost of $1,250.

Scientists at the center developed the STAT-Seq method to run on Illumina's HiSeq 2500 instrument, GenomeWeb Daily News' sister publication Clinical Sequencing News reported in October.

"Up to one third of babies admitted to a NICU in the US have genetic diseases," Stephen Kingsmore, director of the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine, said in a statement.

"So often with these very rare genetic diseases, patients and physicians are on a diagnostic odyssey. Test after test, treatment after treatment, they don't know what's wrong," said Kingsmore. "Now by having the entire genome information in days instead of months, physicians can get a diagnosis quickly and definitively effect treatment."

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