Nebraska Medicine, an academic health system in Nebraska, US, has collaborated with Helix to introduce a population genomics initiative named the Genetic Insights Project.

This programme is expected to drive precision medicine in the state by offering a single test that assesses the risk of various cancers and potentially life-threatening diseases for individuals.

The alliance with Helix, which specialises in integrating genomic data into healthcare and public health decisions, follows similar partnerships nationwide and is set to launch on a limited basis later in 2023.

Nebraska Medicine molecular diagnostics and human genetics laboratories medical director Allison Cushman-Vokoun said: “This new genomics programme will help patients and their providers understand if they’re genetically predisposed to having an increased risk of one of several significant diseases.

“The Genetic Insights Project is a fundamental step in being able to provide patients with precision care.

“The project’s large-scale information will also help unlock DNA trends for the entire community, protecting more people from heart-related issues and cancer, for years to come.”

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The latest initiative focuses on identifying genetic mutations linked to conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, Lynch syndrome, and high cholesterol.

It aims to register 100,000 participants, which if attained would position it as the largest population health initiative in the state.

The participants incur no costs, and collaborating with Helix is said to facilitate future genomics testing without re-sequencing.

Helix CEO and co-founder James Lu said: “Other programmes found that one in 75 participants discovered they had one of these serious, genetic conditions, of which 90% wouldn’t have been found through traditional methods.

“Additionally, population-wide screening is cost-effective for many people in preventing cancer and cardiovascular events.“