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NIH Devotes $9.2M to Next-Gen Sequencing under Pharmacogenomics Research Network Expansion

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The National Institutes of Health
has awarded $9.2 million in funding over five years for next-generation sequencing resources under a $161.3 million expansion of the Pharmacogenomics Research Network that includes 14 new scientific research projects and seven new resources.

"Thanks to breakthroughs in genome sequencing technologies and our growing understanding of genetic variation among individuals, there has never been a better time to propel the field of pharmacogenomics," said NIH Director Francis Collins in a statement.

The PGRN, which is spearheaded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and funded by nine NIH components, was launched in 2000 and has already identified gene variants linked to responses to drugs for different cancers, heart disease, asthma, nicotine addition, and other conditions. The expanded network will continue this research and move into new areas, including rheumatoid arthritis and bipolar disorder.

Three of the seven awards made under the PGRN expansion are designed to offer deep DNA sequencing capacity to PGRN scientists. These grants comprise $3.9 million awarded to Deborah Nickerson at the University of Washington School of Medicine for a human exome resequencing resource; $3 million to Elaine Mardis at Washington University St. Louis for next-generation sequencing; and $2.3 million to Richard Gibbs at Baylor College of Medicine for next-generation sequencing.

These sequencing resources will be used by two of the new research group projects: Researchers at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute led by Ronald Krauss won a $9.4-million grant to study pharmacogenomics and risk of cardiovascular disease and will use the human exome resequencing resource.

Also, a group led by Richard Weinshilboum at the Mayo Clinic won an $11.2-million grant to study pharmacogenetics of phase II drug metabolizing enzymes and will be using Baylor's next-gen sequencing resource, as well as a Mayo-led pharmacogenomic ontology network resource. "This grant will help us to continue to apply the most modern techniques of drug response, mainly in patients with breast cancer and depression," Weinshilboum said in a statement.

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