Sanford Health Partners With Miami Hospital To Sequence Genes Of Understudied Groups

The Sanford Health Imagenetics Program is known across the world for leading the way in applying genomic medicine to primary care. In collaboration with the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, its latest project will focus on the genomics of Latinos and Hispanics.

When it comes to genomic medicine, experts at Sanford Health say there’s a significant gap in the data. The Latino and Hispanic populations are under-represented.

“Many of the genetic and genomic studies that have been done have focused largely on a Northern and Western European population and this has been recognized as an area that needs to be focused on,” said Clinical Director of Sanford Imagenetics Dr. Cassie Hajek.

Along with the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Sanford Health will sequence the genes of nearly 1-thousand Latino and Hispanic people. Using that data, they’ll be able to personalize their care.

Sanford Imagenetics Director of Research Cornelius Boerkoel said, “In sequencing, what we’re doing is proof-reading the encyclopedia for spelling and grammatical mistakes, such that we can understand whether those contribute to a problem the person has or predisposed to a problem, and use that to modify medical therapy.”

The first step though is getting those people on board. Sanford Health will be teaching providers in Miami about how to educate their patients.

“We have a really strong BioBank here at Sanford Health, 40,000 participants, and so this project would help Miami develop theirs using our own experience,” said Hajek.

Sanford says allow the hospital to collect samples and health information takes a lot of trust between the physician and the patient.

The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, named after Jack Nicklaus, recruited Denny Sanford to take part in the initiative. Together, Sanford Health and Denny Sanford donated $7 million to the project.

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