Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar      Advertiser Index     Subscribe     Contact Us    

VUMC Joins National Effort to Improve Disease Prediction in Diverse Populations

Nancy Cox, PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center will participate in a new federal initiative aimed at improving the use of polygenic risk scores (PRS) to predict complex diseases in diverse populations.

This week the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it will fund grants totaling $38 million over five years to establish and support a PRS Diversity Consortium. VUMC researchers will co-lead two of the consortium's six PRS centers.

Polygenic risk scores provide a genetic estimate of disease risk. Because most PRS were developed using data from European ancestry study samples, they perform poorly in predicting disease risk when applied to other racial and ethnic groups.

Nancy Cox, PhD, the Mary Phillips Edmonds Gray Professor of Genetics and director of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, will co-direct one of the centers with Yun Li, PhD, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Alexander Reiner, MD, at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Maggie Ng, PhD, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Genetic Medicine at VUMC, will co-lead another center with Josep Mercader, PhD, and Alisa Manning, PhD, at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"We focus largely on quantitative biomarkers of disease that are commonly measured for understanding disease risks and progression, mostly blood-based measures and those related to inflammatory biology," Cox said.

"We also have a focus on developing and testing PRS in diverse populations," she added, because disproportionate numbers of people from minority populations in the United States fall outside the "normal" reference ranges.

The VUMC-Broad Institute collaboration will work on improving the PRS prediction of diabetes and its complications, which Ng called one of the greatest global health challenges of the 21st century.

The center's multi-disciplinary team will aggregate and analyze data from genome-wide association studies of more than 1.8 million individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and glycemia-related complications, 35% of whom are non-European.

VUMC's biobank, called BioVU, will be an important resource because it contains a large number of genome-wide genotypes from diverse samples including African Americans and Hispanics.

VUMC also maintains for research purposes electronic health records of people who donated blood and other biological samples to BioVU, but from which all information that could identify them has been deleted.

These tools and data will help researchers improve the PRS prediction of diabetes and its progression "in a setting where dramatic racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities exist," Ng said.

Improved prediction of diabetes, in turn, "can inform more efficient and targeted preventive strategies within health care systems and across ethnically diverse populations and advance precision care," she said.

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH, will fund five awards for $33 million, while the National Cancer Institute will fund one award for $5 million.


Related Articles:

Recent Articles

AACR Establishes New Cancer Evolution Working Group

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced the formation of its seventh and newest scientific working group, which will be dedicated to supporting cancer evolution research.

Read More

Global Dementia Cases Forecasted To Triple By 2050

New analysis shows a decrease in prevalence due to education countered by increase due to heart health risk factors

Read More

Blackburn, Feinstein Introduce Bill to Protect Access to Breast Cancer Screenings

U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act of 2021, a bill to preserve coverage for routine breast cancer screening for women beginning at age 40.

Read More


The company's 2020 sustainability report highlights its commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities

Read More

Mobile Mentor Named Winner of Microsoft's 2021 Partner of the Year for Modern Endpoint Management

Mobile Mentor announced they have been awarded the 2021 Global Partner of the Year Award for Modern Endpoint Management.

Read More

Alzheimer's Association Welcomes CMS Announcement of National Coverage Determination Analysis on Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease

On behalf of all those living with Alzheimer's disease, their caregivers, and their families, we appreciate the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) thoughtful consideration on coverage considerations for monoclonal antibodies targeting amyloid for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, including aducanumab, which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Read More

HCTec Acquires Talon Healthy IT Services

Healthcare IT firm adds industry-leading help desk service company to portfolio of solutions

Read More

The Seven Steps of Revenue Cycle for a Healthcare Practice

Revenue cycle management tracks patient revenue from the initial encounter with the healthcare system to payment of balance. Getting the seven steps of revenue cycle right helps providers avoid missteps that are costly to the bottom line.

Read More

Expanding Evidence-Based Care for Dementia

The Alzheimer's Association is on a mission to ensure care professionals have access to evidence-based training to ensure those with dementia receive quality care across all settings.

Read More

A Natural Leader

Nashville physician Dr. Ryan Mire to head nation's largest medical-specialty society.

Read More

Email Print



Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: