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Illumina Launches Philanthropic Sequencing Program for Children With Rare Diseases

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina has launched a philanthropic whole-genome sequencing program in conjunction with the Foundation for Children of the Californias, the Rare Genomics Institute, and the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital.

The program, called iHope, is aimed at children with undiagnosed rare diseases who cannot afford diagnostic sequencing. In its first year, Illumina expects to sequence 100 patients and their parents.

"Understanding the scope and size of the population affected by rare diseases, we have a moral imperative to increase the visibility of this global health problem and help find solutions for the children and families who are suffering," Illumina President and CEO Francis deSouza said in a statement.

The iHope program partners will select eligible participants who are referred to the program by clinical experts. Illumina will perform clinical whole-genome sequencing for selected individuals at no cost in its CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratory.

"Whole-genome sequencing has already shown its value in identifying rare and undiagnosed diseases and, as we learn more, I believe that the process will become a routine part of medical practice," Jimmy Lin, founder and president of the Rare Genomics Institute, added. "Children will no longer have to suffer through a crusade of testing."