The National Institutes of Health has awarded Partners HealthCare $12.3 million to evaluate how patients respond when they receive news that their genetic data indicates they may develop into conditions like breast cancer or mood disorders.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) will analyze 25,000 samples from the Partners Biobank, a repository housing thousands of blood samples from consenting patients. Their goal is to find genetic conditions that could point to hereditary diseases, communicate those findings to patients, and solicit feedback on how those patients handled the news.
As whole genome sequencing gains popularity, the issue of when to tell patients that their genes indicate they are predisposed for certain diseases is becoming more important. Heidi Rehm, director of the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine at Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine, and her team have been pioneers in the field of personalized genetic medicine for years, and this research will yield new insights into maximizing the benefits of genomic technology.