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NIH All of Us Program Awards $28.6M to Three Genome Centers Led by Baylor, Broad, UW

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health's All of Us Research Program today awarded $28.6 million to establish three genome centers led by Baylor College of Medicine, the Broad Institute, and the University of Washington, which will generate and analyze genomic data from biosamples contributed by participants in the program.

The NIH said in a statement that the genome centers were selected "based on their proven track record at generating genomic data at scale, providing clinical validation services to verify medically-relevant variants, and participating in large-scale research collaborations." The awards may last up to five years, pending progress and the availability of funds.

Two of the three centers are consortia. The Baylor-led genome center involves Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas Health Science Center. The Broad-led genome center involves the Broad's genomics platform, which will conduct clinical-grade sequencing and genotyping at its CLIA-licensed and CAP-accredited clinical research sequencing lab; genetic testing firm Color, which will analyze, interpret, and report results from the genomic data; and the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine at Partners HealthCare, which will collaborate with Color and manage an expert team to address the most challenging genomic variants.

The third center award went to the University of Washington, which will work without a partner.

All of Us is aiming to sign up at least 1 million participants for its precision medicine research platform, including from groups that have been historically underrepresented in research. So far, it has registered 110,000 individuals, 60,000 of whom have completed all elements of the core protocol. Participants contribute by answering surveys, providing access to their electronic health records, and giving blood and urine samples, and will continue to provide information in the future, including through fitness trackers. Their data will be available to researchers for health-related studies.

The three genome centers, which will ramp up operations over the next few months, will produce genomic data for the research effort and will analyze data that will be returned to participants. All of Us participants interested in receiving results will initially obtain information from a list of 59 actionable disease risk genes, as defined by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, as well as pharmacogenomic results. In the future, they will also obtain information about their ancestry and traits.

Later this year, the program plans to issue a funding announcement for genetic counseling resources to support the return of results.

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