NIH award 12 grants to drive genomics into the clinic.

The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network moved into its third phase this month with the award of 12 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The eMERGE network was created in 2007 as an NIH-organised and funded consortium of U.S. medical research institutions. Their goal is to develop, disseminate, and apply approaches to research that combine DNA biorepositories with electronic medical record (EMR) systems for large-scale, high-throughput genetic research.

For this third phase, the focus is squarely on clinical application. Projects will look to identify the potential medical effects of rare genomic variants in around 100 clinically relevant gene loci.

“The newly funded projects are focused on discovering genes and gene variants with clinical implications by using the latest sequencing technologies to examine rare and common variants suspected to relate to disease risk and treatment effects,” said Rongling Li, M.D., Ph.D., program director for eMERGE in the Division of Genomic Medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a part of NIH. “The other important component of these grants is implementing what researchers learn about these gene variants into medical settings to improve patient care.”

Researchers will also be assessing the best way in which genetic testing results should be provided to physicians and patients. The information contained in the test results can affect treatment options, and also impact psychological and financially on patients. This too will be an area of investigation for researches, as is the potential burden on healthcare systems.

To find out who will be working on what head over to the NIH website.