The Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI), a joint project between HudsonAlpha and UAB Medicine to use genomic analysis to help identify individuals at risk for genetic disease, will soon begin statewide recruitment.
The project, funded by a $2 million appropriation from the Alabama legislature to UAB, supports one of the nation’s first statewide efforts in genomic medicine.
The AGHI will recruit a diverse group of participants from every county in Alabama and provide genomic analysis and interpretation to this group free-of-charge. For some, the results will indicate an increased risk of a disease for which preventive or treatment strategies exist. Those participants will receive genetic counseling and be linked to appropriate medical care. The initiative will also feature a public education campaign about genomic medicine and create a DNA biobank for research.
In the first year, the initiative plans on recruiting 2,000 individuals who will provide a DNA sample from a simple blood draw. Over a five-year period, the goal will be to increase the database to include genetic information from more than 10,000 persons.
“Undoubtedly individuals will benefit from the AGHI; additionally, the initiative could lead to identification of new genetic diseases and new treatments for those conditions that will benefit Alabamians and the rest of the world. Through AGHI, we can help make our citizens healthier, and demonstrate the value and power of genomic medicine in creating a new paradigm for healthcare. HudsonAlpha is proud to partner with UAB for this groundbreaking initiative,” said Rick Myers, PhD, president and science director of HudsonAlpha.
“This initiative could be transformative for the state of Alabama,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, MD, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “We will use the knowledge gained from the AGHI to begin to uncover more undiagnosed diseases and will potentially rewrite our understanding of the burden of disease on our population. This project can have tremendous impact on residents of Alabama and stimulate economic development in the state.”