NantHealth said today it will partner with the University of Utah to analyze the entire genomic profiles of at least 1000 people with family histories of rare and life-threatening diseases and conditions.
The initiative—called the Heritage 1K Project—will focus on researching the genetic causes of 25 conditions, including, breast, colon, ovarian, and prostate cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chronic lymphocytic leukemia, autism, preterm birth, epilepsy, and other hereditary conditions.
While the value of the collaboration was not disclosed in today’s announcement, the University said in October that it received a $12 million gift from NantHealth Chairman and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., to establish Heritage 1K.
Heritage 1K will combine the university’s Utah Genome Project initiative, designed to uncover genetic signatures of disease and drug response in large families, with molecular tests to be offered by NantHealth. The company’s genomic sequencing platform integrates whole-genome (DNA) sequencing and RNA sequencing.
Through the testing, including analysis of germline and somatic samples, the partners aim to explore underlying genetic causes of conditions and diseases at the cellular level, helping patients prevent, diagnose, and successfully treat diseases that have afflicted their families, NantHealth said.
“As the industry continues to focus on personalized medicine, it has become more important to have tests which can not only provide clinicians with information necessary to develop personalized treatment strategies for their patients, but also has the potential to help physicians identify treatments for debilitating diseases at a targeted level,” Dr. Soon-Shiong said in a statement.
The Utah Genome Project applies the Utah Population Database, the world’s largest repository of genealogies and public health and medical records, housed at the University of Utah Health Sciences and Huntsman Cancer Institute. The University’s legacy of genetic discovery includes the identification of more than 30 genes responsible for diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and cardiac arrhythmia.