NantHealth, University of Utah's Heritage 1K Project to study genetic causes of 25 rare diseases

A collaboration between data and genomics company NantHealth and Salt Lake City-based University of Utah seeks to analyze the genomic profiles of at least 1,000 individuals with a history of rare and life-threatening diseases with the hope of discovering the cause of these diseases.

The research project, called The Heritage 1K Project, will focus on 25 conditions, including breast cancer, colon cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, autism, epilepsy and other hereditary conditions.

Researchers will use NantHealth's genomic sequencing platform and hope to explore the underlying genetic causes of these diseases at a cellular level.

University of Utah has been on the forefront of genomic research. In 2012, the university launched the Utah Genome Project, an analysis initiative to discover and study disease-causing genes and ultimately develop genetic diagnostics and precision therapies. The Heritage 1K Project seeks to build on the Utah Genome Project.

"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," said Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, chairman and CEO of NantHealth.

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