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DNAnexus, Sutter Health, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center launch Multiple Sclerosis Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – DNAnexus and the Sutter Health network said today that they have launched a multiple sclerosis (MS) research study that will also involve the University Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

As part of the collaboration, scientists at the Sutter Health Center for Precision Medicine will add de-identified clinico-genomic data from more than 3,000 patients to the DNAnexus Apollo platform, which allows for rapid analysis, visualization, and collaboration within a secure environment. The Genome Center at UPMC will generate clinical-grade genomic data from samples contributed by the program's participants.

Starting next month, Sutter researchers will enroll more than 500 MS patients in the first phase of the study. The group will collect electronic health record data, patient-reported outcomes, imaging data, and blood samples, as well as whole-exome sequencing data generated at UPMC.

DNAnexus bioinformaticians will process the WES data through analysis pipelines and link the results with clinical data on the Apollo platform. Sutter clinicians, researchers, and collaborators will then use the platform to examine patients' clinical and genomic features that correlate with MS subtypes, disability progression, staging, symptoms, MRI changes, and differential response to disease-modifying therapies.

"This is an important step to advance precision medicine efforts across Sutter and, ultimately, to improve treatments for people with MS in our community and the millions of people affected with the disease worldwide," said Gregory Tranah, director of Sutter's Center for Precision Medicine, in a statement.  

With the study, DNAnexus has launched its new Clinico-Genomic Data Solution, a program that the firm said will address the demand for high-quality, longitudinal, disease-specific datasets by establishing a network of healthcare partners aiming to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment pathways for complex diseases. The network will offer an ongoing data stream hosted on Apollo to improve precision health initiatives and drug discovery programs at leading cancer centers, academic institutions, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies.