7 genome sequencing, biobank projects in the news

As precision medicine takes hold in the healthcare industry, hospitals, health systems and healthcare organizations are establishing biobanks — databases storing people's individual genetic information — to aid in their research and discovery.

Recently, several biobanks associated with key healthcare players have reported reaching volunteer milestones, including initiatives at Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System, New York-based Icahn School of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs' Million Veteran Program.

Here are seven genome sequencing and biobank projects at healthcare organizations making news recently.

1. Precision Medicine Initiative. One of the newest precision medicine initiatives comes from the federal government. President Barack Obama announced this federal initiative in his 2015 State of the Union address, calling for $215 million to be allocated to advancing genomics. The National Institutes of Health oversees the project, which seeks to enroll a cohort of 1 million U.S. volunteers to provide a biological sample to build the biobank.

2. Million Veteran Program. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also conducting genomic research on veterans. The VA expects to soon enroll its 500,000th volunteer, with an ultimate enrollment goal of 1 million veterans.

3. Kaiser Permanente Research Bank. Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente launched its DNA database in 2008, collecting data from patients in California. The company has now expanded its reach and seeks to collect patient data from members in all seven of its regions. Currently, 220,000 members nationwide are participating, and Kaiser hopes to eventually involve 500,000 individuals.

4. Baylor's Human Genome Sequencing Center. Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine and Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic have partnered to sequence DNA in Mayo's biobank. Experts at Baylor will assist in sequencing 69 genes to see how they may influence a patient's reaction to certain drugs.

5. MyCode Community Health Initiative. Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System's genomics initiative launched in January 2014 in collaboration with Regeneron Genetics Center, a Tarrytown, N.Y.-based subsidiary of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The project recently reached its 100,000 donor milestone, three years ahead of schedule. Now, researchers have upped their target to 250,000 participants.

6. Resilience Project. The Resilience Project is a collaborative effort between the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and nonprofit Seattle-based biomedical research firm Sage Bionetworks. The project was launched in 2014, and in early April reported analyzing more than 589,000 genomes.

7. Partners Biobank. Boston-based Partners HealthCare has a biobank containing data from patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In August 2015, the biobank announced its plans to genotype up to 50,000 samples in the next three years.

More articles on genomics:

Intermountain, Stanford establish research program focused on precision health: 6 things to know
Physicians offer patients little insight on their genomic testing results
What advances in genomic research mean for federal health IT

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