The Mayo Clinic has launched a project to create a genomic sequencing library that will include data on 100,000 of its patients, marking the latest effort by providers to integrate genetic testing into routine care delivery.
The health system said Thursday it hopes to collect genetic data from 100,000 Mayo adult patients over the next five years. Mayo will screen the study participants see whether they carry any of 11 genes known to have a high hereditary indication for breast and ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer or severe cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Konstantinos Lazaridis, associate director of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine and principal investigator of the study, said the study will involve Mayo patients at the health system's headquarters in Rochester, Minnesota, as well as at its clinics in Florida and Arizona who volunteer to have their genetic data collected.
A key goal of the initiative is to better understand genetic sequencing's potential impact for advancing preventive care within the clinical practice, he said.
"We think genetic information by itself is very useful, Lazaridis said. "But when you pair this information with clinical data, it will be even more meaningful."
Clinicians would be able to look up a patient's genetic information that was collected in the sequencing library within the electronic medical record system.
Participating patients will be evaluated to assess the short- and long-term benefits of genomic sequencing and the impact it's had on their health outcomes, the quality of their care and their healthcare costs, according to Lazaridis.
Genomic sequencing will be conducted by San Francisco-based population genomics firm, Helix, which is collaborating with the Mayo Clinic on the project. Mayo became an investing partner in Helix in 2015.
Justin Kao, Helix's co-founder and senior vice president of business development and strategy, said the Mayo study will provide the groundwork for figuring out how best to integrate genetic data within care delivery in a way that helps clinicians make the best medical decisions.
"The average physician that has no more than 15 minutes to spend with a patient, what they want is information to help them understand what risks that patient may carry and also to think about what markers they may want to pay more attention to," Kao said.
The project reflects the shift in genomic sequencing's role within healthcare has taken in recent years from a science primarily used in research to integration within day-to-day primary care.
In 2018, Pennsylvania-based, Geisinger Health System conducted a pilot project to sequence DNA from 1,000 patients as a part of their routine preventive care efforts, and has since expanded the program systemwide.