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Helix, St. Luke's University Health Network Partner on Population Health Study

NEW YORK – Helix and St. Luke's University Health Network of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said yesterday that they are partnering on a population genomics study with the goal of improving precision medicine.

The St. Luke's-Helix community health research program initially aims to enroll 100,000 participants over four years. Participants will be provided with information about their potential risks for serious health conditions such as certain types of cardiovascular disease and cancer, information that they can then discuss with their healthcare providers to make proactive decisions. These include hereditary conditions such as familial hypercholesterolemia, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2), and Lynch syndrome.

For participants who provide informed consent, San Mateo, California-based Helix said it will use its end-to-end genomics platform and "Sequence Once, Query Often" model, which allows future genomic tests to be run with a provider's order but without collecting an additional sample.

Participation is voluntary and individuals who receive genetic testing results will be able to seek additional or follow-up care from any health system or provider of their choosing. In addition, safeguards will be in place to protect the privacy of all participants and the confidentiality of their data.

The partnership is "yet another example of St. Luke's taking the initiative to explore new ways to efficiently improve long-term healthcare while reducing costs," Aldo Carmona, St. Luke's senior VP of clinical integration, said in a statement. "This research program will provide valuable insights about precision medicine and inform initiatives that may enable early detection of health conditions along with the selection of precise treatment options."

St. Luke's joins other health systems participating in the Helix program, including HealthPartners, Memorial Hermann, the Medical University of South Carolina, and WellSpan Health.