Intermountain Healthcare seeks connections between genetics and disease in largest U.S. DNA mapping effort

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Intermountain Healthcare is focused on finding new connections between genetics and human disease in a new study using the DNA of 500,000 participants from Intermountain’s patient population.

Gary Stone, Intermountain’s Precision Health Executive Director, said this is a clinical DNA study that is massive in scale and is expected to provide new answers for patients.

“Everything from determining how to screen for risk factors for cancer,” Stone explained, “and cardiovascular disease, for example, all the way to choosing the types of drugs and doses of drugs that would be needed for a patient with depression, needing an antidepressant, to a cancer patient needing certain therapies.”

He said if patients are screened with genetic testing early enough in life, they might learn they are the carrier of a gene that puts them at risk, and that would allow specific interventions before cancer is formed and then spreads.

It’s really profound in terms of helping educate the patient and the provider in knowing the risk factors the patient has based upon their genetics, their inherited risk factors and they take specific interventions to prevent that disease from taking their life.”

Stone said intermountainhealthcare.org/heredigene is the website for those interested in joining the study.

Screening for hereditary diseases like breast and colon cancer and heart disease requires deep insights into the DNA of a massive patient population such as Intermountain’s. This collaborative study joins Intermountain with deCODE Genetics’ understanding of genetic data to deliver accurate insights into patient health.

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