Mayo Clinic awarded $3 million to continue genomics EHR research

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The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded the Mayo Clinic a $3 million grant to continue its research into how the genetic data of patients in electronic health records (EHRs) can be used in wider clinical research projects, according to Healthcare IT News.

The Mayo Clinic is one of seven healthcare providers that are participating in the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network project. The clinic will develop the functionality of EHRs to include data which may help determine a patient’s risk of conditions such a heart attacks and reactions to medications, and systems to enable this data will shared with other physicians across a medical informatics network.

“We will develop genetic risk scores for heart attack and adverse drug reactions as well as tools to communicate genomic risk to both patients and care providers,” Iftikhar Kullo, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the news outlet. “The goal is to accelerate the translation of recent advances in genetics and pharmacogenetics to the clinical practice, leveraging the electronic medical record.”

According to FierceEMR, researchers discovered several genetic variants commonly associated with conditions such as cataracts, type 2 diabetes and dementia. Once these genetic variants can be shared across a clinical informatics network as part of a larger genetic database, physicians will be able to more accurately monitor patients for such conditions and further expand the database with more diagnostic information.

Phase 2 of the project aims to identify genetic similarities between patients diagnosed with 21 other diseases by cross-referencing data from 32,000 patients whose information has already been entered into a clinical informatics database. This will enable scientists to draw upon a wider range of patient information to identify genetic flaws that may indicate a patient’s predisposition to certain conditions.