A large Chicago area healthcare organization and a clinical genetics testing lab have announced a plan to collaborate to determine how to use precision medicine in preventive care.

Ambry Genetics and the Center for Personalized Medicine of NorthShore University HealthSystem are aiming high, looking to develop a blueprint for the use of precision medicine in care delivery that can be used broadly by other healthcare organizations.

Ambry says it plans to work with NorthShore’s Genomic Health Initiative to perform whole exome sequencing on 10,000 patients, then will compile their sequencing data and electronic health record data in an internal review board study.

GHI is a genomic research initiative designed to investigate genetic variations, or DNA mutations, that may contribute to conditions affecting patients. The partners say results of these analyses may lead to new insights into the relationship between genetic variation and disease.

Also See: NIH funds research to accelerate use of genome sequencing in clinical care

“Preventing and managing disease through scientific excellence and high-quality care is the cornerstone of this partnership,” says Aaron Elliott, chief executive officer of Ambry. “NorthShore and Ambry share the same patient-first philosophy and focus on scientific innovation to improve the future of healthcare.”

The collaboration will take advantage of NorthShore’s advanced EHR system integration, which will enable the dissemination and coordination of genetic testing to healthcare providers ranging from primary care physicians to specialists. When appropriate, cases will be referred to NorthShore’s extensive network of sub-specialized genetic counseling clinics.

Another initiative of the partnership is to implement and utilize a genetic risk score, which summarizes a person’s genetic predisposition to disease using aggregated data from multiple risk variants. The risk score gives primary care physicians a quantitative tool to better understand and stratify risk of disease. The initial focus is to offer the GRS test for prostate cancer and then expand to other conditions, NorthShore executives say.

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