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Helix, Sanford Health Partner on 100K Population Genomics Health Initiative in Upper Midwest

NEW YORK – Genomics company Helix and healthcare system Sanford Health on Thursday announced a population genomics partnership to bring precision medicine to rural communities in the Upper Midwest.

The collaborators intend to enroll 100,000 participants from Sanford Health and to use Helix's population genomics platform to provide them with actionable, early, and preventive medical care insights. Specifically, Helix will look for genetic variants predisposing individuals to conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and high cholesterol.

The results will allow patients and their doctors to take preventive measures aimed at potentially delaying, mitigating, or averting these life-threatening conditions.

Through the large-scale screening program, Sanford also hopes to identify potential health risks that might disproportionately affect its community. Helix will use the data to expand its panel of genetic markers for additional diseases.

"As we work to become the premier rural healthcare system in the nation, we need to take genomics to the next level and work to integrate genomic medicine more broadly across our patient population," Michael LeBeau, system VP for health services operations at Sanford Health, said in a statement. "This strategic partnership is pivotal in our pursuit of a more profound understanding of the broader genomics landscape, not only within our own health system but across the healthcare industry."

The collaboration is the latest in a growing number of population health initiatives conducted by Helix and partnering healthcare systems.

Earlier this year, Helix partnered with St. Luke's University Health Network on a substantially similar initiative. Over the course of the last two years, the San Mateo, California-based company also partnered with WellSpan Health, Memorial Hermann Health System, GenXys, and the Medical University of South Carolina.