NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute and PersonalGenomes.org on Monday announced they are partnering to identify genetic and environmental factors in trait and disease development.
Under the deal, NYSCF will generate stem cell lines from skin samples of participants in the Harvard Personal Genome Project (PGP). The cell lines will be compared to data gathered by PGP, such as whole genomes, medical histories, body microbiomes, and hundreds of traits gathered from more than 3,000 participants, the partners said.
Initially, 50 PGP participants are donating skin samples to generate induced pluripotent stem cell lines. The skin samples will be sent to the NYSCF Research Institute where iPS cells will be derived using the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array. The iPS cells will be derived into different adult cells which will provide a "powerful tool to study how genetic differences between people can affect disease development and trait expression," NYSCF and PersonalGenomes.org said.
The cells will also be made available to the broader scientific community through the NYSCF repository.
"Mapping human genetics has laid the groundwork for personalized medicine to tailor treatments to patients on a level not previously achievable," NYSCF CEO Susan Solomon said in a statement. "And, now with stem cells, we can take this a step further: we can test and refine drugs on a patient's actual diseased cells."
George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and founder of PGP, added that PGP's challenge "is to leverage the tremendous amount of information from the PGP as the world's only open access source of human genome, microbiome, and disease data into a resource for testing causes and cures.
"We are using PGP stem cells for studying human mutations, gene editing therapies, and novel transplantation methods. That is why we see such value in the integration of these new stem cell technologies through this partnership with NYSCF," he said.