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NIH Awards $18.9M to Fund Clinical Genomics Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health announced today that it has awarded $18.9 million in funding to seven research institutions that will act as a consortium to advance the use of genomics in the clinic.

Called the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER2) consortium, this latest initiative builds on the work of the first CSER, which was founded in 2010 by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to explore the use of genome sequencing in clinical care and to identify challenges and opportunities for the technology in different healthcare contexts.

"CSER's initial goal was more exploratory in nature to see if we could, in fact, integrate genome sequencing into clinical care," Lucia Hindorff, a program director in the NHGRI's division of genomic medicine, said in a statement. "The exploratory focus allowed each site to develop its own approach. Working together, CSER investigators were effective in identifying common challenges and opportunities for advancing this integration."

With the latest round of funding, CSER2 members aim to develop methods needed to integrate genome sequencing into the practice of medicine, improve the discovery and interpretation of genomic variants, and investigate the impact of genome sequencing on healthcare outcomes, the NIH said.

Notably, these projects will also include a particular focus on diverse and traditionally underserved populations. As such, the NHGRI and the NCI will work with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to improve processes for recruiting and retaining research participants from different racial and ethnic groups, as well as from currently understudied clinical healthcare settings where genomic medicine could potentially be put into practice.

The CSER2 consortium will include clinical sites at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology; the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; the University of California, San Francisco; and Baylor College of Medicine. It will also include a coordinating center housed at the University of Washington, Seattle.