NEW YORK – Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine, a research institute embedded within Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, said on Monday that it has teamed up with healthcare data company PlumCare RWE to expand its whole-genome sequencing-based newborn screening program to Greece.
Under the collaboration, Rady Children's and PlumCare will establish the first international site for BeginNGS, a pilot program to screen newborns for hundreds of genetic diseases with known treatment options using rapid whole-genome sequencing (rWGS), in Greece.
Working with the Greek National Public Health Organization, PlumCare said it plans to recruit at least 1,000 families at academic sites, such as the EKPA-Alexandra Hospital in Athens, AUTH-Papageorgiou Hospital in Thessaloniki, and the University of Thessaly-University Hospital in Larissa.
As with the program in the US, BeginNGS Greece will collect blood spot samples at birth for rWGS analysis that covers approximately 400 early-onset and actionable genetic conditions. BeginNGS will not replace current biochemical newborn screening but is designed to complement the newborn screening processes and infrastructure that are already in place, the collaborators said.
"This is an important initiative that we fully support because it brings actionable treatments for individuals to improve outcomes for our children, delivers the latest translational medical science to Greek families, and it places Greece in a foundational position to further newborn genomic screening," said Theoklis Zaoutis, president of the National Public Health Organization in Greece, in a statement.