FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

DANVILLE, PA --
Three Geisinger Health System faculty/researchers will be participating in a two-day National Institutes of Health (NIH) seminar March 6 and 7 focused on questions surrounding the return of genetic results to patient-participants in research.

The NIH’s national Precision Medicine initiative (PMI) program, All of Us, is recruiting participants for a national program looking at the interplay of genomics and other factors, such as environmental determinants, exercise, and diet in long-term national studies that are only starting to get under way. Geisinger was selected by NIH as one of the health care provider organizations to participate in the PMI program to help build a nationwide million-person strong study.

The two-day Washington, D.C.-based webinar will be exploring what ways the national PMI program could and should return results to patient-participants in that program.

Geisinger’s MyCode Community Health Initiative has been underway for 10 years and is committed to sharing medically actionable genetic results with patients, with some 60,000 patients’ DNA sequenced already and some 200 patients receiving genetic results so far. (See go.geisinger.org/results). More than 135,000 Geisinger patients have consented to participate in the MyCode initiative, agreeing to donate samples to be sequenced.

Geisinger Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D, will serve on one panel addressing the current state of science in returning medically relevant results.

"Our ultimate goal is to help improve healthcare by finding ways to diagnose medical conditions earlier or before they appear and also find new treatments or medications to manage these diseases," said Dr. Ledbetter. “Geisinger patients are already benefitting by learning about potential medical conditions from the return of their genetic results through the MyCode initiative.”

Christa Lese Martin, Ph.D., director of Geisinger’s Autism and Development Medicine Institute, will participate in a panel addressing the perspective of clinical labs on questions about returning genetic results. Dr. Martin is an expert and co-chair of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) working group that established guidelines for return of secondary genetic results.

Also participating in the NIH All of Us program is genetic counselor and Professor W. Andrew Faucett, who helped develop the return process for Geisinger’s MyCode. He will be participating in a panel on the clinical support and genetic counseling needed for returning genetic results to patients.
Dr. David Ledbetter

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