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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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Laboratory Leaders at 2024 Annual Executive War College Discuss Critical Challenges Facing Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Managers for 2024 and Beyond

Trifecta of forces at work that will affect the clinical laboratory and pathology industries have been described as a ‘perfect storm’ requiring lab and practice managers to be well informed

Digital pathology, artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, and the perfect storm of changing federal regulations, took centerstage at the 29th Executive War College on Diagnostics, Clinical Laboratory, and Pathology Management in New Orleans this week, where more than 1,000 clinical laboratory and pathology leaders convened over three days.

This was the largest number of people ever onsite for what has become the world’s largest event focused exclusively on lab management topics and solutions. Perhaps the highlight of the week was the federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) announcement of its final rule on Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs). Overall, the conference featured more than 120 speakers, many of them national thought leaders on the topic of clinical lab and pathology management. More than 65% of the audience onsite were executive level lab managers.

 “The level of interest in the annual Executive War College is testimony to the ongoing need for dynamic, engaging, and highly relevant conference events,” said Robert Michel (above), Editor-in-Chief of Dark Daily and its sister publication The Dark Report, and founder of the Executive War College. “These in-person gatherings present great opportunities for clinical laboratory and pathology managers and leaders to network and speak with people they otherwise might not meet.” (Photo copyright: Dark Intelligence Group.)

Demonstrating Clinical Value

For those who missed the action onsite, the following is a synopsis of the highlights this week.

Lâle White, Executive Chair and CEO of XiFin, spoke about the future of clinical laboratory testing and the factors reshaping the industry. There are multiple dynamics impacting healthcare economics and outcomes—namely rising costs, decreasing reimbursements, and the move to a more consumer-focused healthcare. But it is up to labs, she said, to ensure their services are not simply viewed as a commodity.

“Laboratory diagnostics have the potential to change the economics of healthcare by really gaining efficiencies,” she noted. “And it’s up to labs to demonstrate clinical value by helping physicians manage two key diagnostic decision points—what tests to order, and what to do with the results.”

But even as labs find ways to increase the value offered to clinicians, there are other disruptive factors in play. Consumer-oriented tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon are democratizing access to patient data in unforeseen ways, and Medicare Advantage plans are changing the way claims are processed and paid.

Redefining Human Data

Reynolds Salerno, PhD, Director of the Division of Laboratory Services for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided an update on the agency’s top priorities for 2024.

Clinical labs are fundamental components of the public health infrastructure. So, the CDC plans on focusing on delivering high-quality laboratory science, supported by reliable diagnostics and informatics for disease outbreaks and exposures, and engaging with public and private sector partners.

Salerno is an active member of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act Committee (CLIAC), which has been working on a number of initiatives, including revisions to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) that would change the definition of “materials derived from the human body” to include data derived from human specimens such as medical imaging, genetic sequences, etc.

New Molecular Testing Codes

The history of MolDX and Z-Codes were the topics discussed by Gabriel Bien-Willner, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer for healthcare claims and transaction processing company Palmetto GBA. Molecular testing is highly complex, and the lack of well-defined billing codes and standardization makes it difficult to know if a given test is reasonable and necessary.

Z-Codes were established to clarify what molecular testing was performed—and why—prompting payers to require both Z-Codes and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes when processing molecular test claims. Medicare’s MolDX program further streamlines the claims process by utilizing expertise in the molecular diagnostics space to help payers develop coverage policies and reimbursement for these tests.

FDA Final Rule on LDT Regulation

Timothy Stenzel, MD, PhD, CEO of Grey Haven Consulting and former director of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics reviewed the latest updates from the FDA’s Final Rule on LDT (laboratory developed test) regulation. Prior to the FDA releasing its final rule, some experts suggested that the new regulations could result in up to 90% of labs discontinuing their LDT programs, impacting innovation, and patient care.

However, the final rule on LDTs is very different from the original proposed rule which created controversy. The final rule actually lowers the regulatory burden to the point that some labs may not have to submit their LDTs at all. The FDA is reviewing dozens of multi-cancer detection assays, some of which have launched clinically as LDTs. The agency is likely to approve those that accurately detect cancers for which there is no formal screening program.

Stenzel explained the FDA’s plan to down-classify most in vitro diagnostic tests, changing them from Class III to Class II, and exempting more than 1,000 assays from FDA review. He also discussed the highlights of the Quality Management System Regulation (QMSR). Launched in January, the QMSR bought FDA requirements in line with ISO 13485, making compliance easier for medical device manufacturers and test developers working internationally.

Looming Perfect Storm of Regulatory Changes

To close out Day 1, Michel took to the stage again with a warning to clinical laboratories about the looming “Perfect Storm” trifecta—the final FDA ruling on LDTs, Z-Code requirements for genetic testing, and updates to CLIA ’92 that could result in patient data being considered a specimen.

Laboratory leaders must think strategically if their labs are to survive the fallout, because the financial stress felt by labs in recent years will only be exacerbated by macroeconomic trends such as:

  • Staff shortages,
  • Rising costs,
  • Decreasing and delayed reimbursements, and
  • Tightening supply chains.

Lab administrators looking for ways to remain profitable and prosperous should look beyond the transactional Clinical Lab 1.0 fee-for-service model and adopt Clinical Lab 2.0, which embraces HEDIS (Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set) scores and STAR ratings to offer more value to Medicare Advantage and other payers.

Wednesday’s General Session agenda was packed with information about the rise of artificial intelligence, big data, and precision medicine in healthcare. Taking centerstage on the program’s final day was Michael Simpson, President and CEO of Clinisys. Simpson gave a global perspective on healthcare data as the new driver of innovation in diagnostics and patient care.

Michel closed the conference on Wednesday by recapping many of these highlights, and then inviting his audience to the 30th annual Executive War College Diagnostics, Clinical Laboratory, and Pathology Management conference to be held on April 29-30, 2025, here at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Register now to attend this critical gathering.

—Leslie Williams

Related Information:

Executive War College: The Ultimate Event for Helping Solve Your Diagnostics, Clinical Lab and Pathology Management Challenges

Labs Should Prepare for Arrival of ‘Perfect Storm’

Executive War College 2025 Registration

From Regulations to Innovations: Annual Executive War College Convenes in New Orleans

29th Conference Features Information on What Clinical Lab Leaders Need to Know About a ‘Perfect Storm’ of New Compliance Challenges

There are signs that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to release the final rule on laboratory developed tests (LDTs)—perhaps even during the 29th annual Executive War College on Diagnostic, Clinical Laboratory, and Pathology Management, which kicks off in New Orleans this week.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concluded its review of the final rule on April 22. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, and other regulatory experts expect the White House to send the final rule to Congress as early as late April and no later than May 22.

Either way, Tim Stenzel, MD, PhD, former director of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics, and other regulatory experts will be on hand at Executive War College (EWC) to walk attendees through what promises to be a “perfect storm of clinical lab and pathology practice regulatory changes.” Stenzel is scheduled to speak about the LDT rule during three sessions with fellow panelists on Day 1.

On Tuesday morning, Lâle White, executive chair and CEO of San Diego’s XiFin, Inc., will present a keynote on new regulations and diagnostics players that are “poised to reshape lab testing.” Her presentation is followed by a general session on Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulations featuring Salerno Reynolds, PhD., acting director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Center for Laboratory Systems and Response.

Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report will wrap day one with a general session on the regulatory trifecta coming soon to all labs, from LDT to CLIA to private payers’ policies for genetic claims.


Innovation in the spotlight

“It’s a rich mix of expert speakers, lab leaders who are doing innovative things in their own organizations, along with the consultants and the lab vendors who are pushing the front edge of laboratory management, operations, and clinical service delivery,” says Michel, who each year creates the agenda for EWC.

Several sessions, master classes, and speakers will look to the future with discussions about how healthcare data drives innovations in diagnostics and patient care, digital pathology adoption around the world, and hot topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data and precision medicine.

Panels offer a variety of viewpoints

“One valuable benefit of participating at the Executive War College is the various panel discussions,” Michel says. “Each panel brings together national experts in a specific area of the laboratory profession. As an example, our lab legal panel this year brings together four prominent and experienced attorneys who share opinions, insights, and commentary about relevant issues in compliance, regulations, and contractual issues with health plans and others.”

This allows attendees to experience a breadth of opinions from multiple respected experts in this area, he adds.

For example, a digital pathology panel will bring together representatives from labs, service providers, and the consultants that are helping labs implement digital pathology. The session will be especially helpful to labs that are deciding when to acquire digital pathology tools and how to deploy them effectively to improve diagnostic accuracy, Michel says.

And a managed care panel will feature executives from some of the nation’s biggest health plans—the ones that sit on the other side of the table from labs—to provide insights and guidance on how labs can work more effectively with them.

Networking opportunities abound

The event is about much more than politics and policy, however. There’s also a distinct social aspect.

“This is a friendly tribe,” Vicki DiFrancesco, a US HealthTek advisory board member who first attended EWC more than two decades ago, wrote in a recent post.

“Everyone is welcome, and everyone appreciates the camaraderie, so don’t be shy about going up and introducing yourself to someone. The quality of the crowd is top-notch, yet I’ve always experienced a willingness for those of us who have been to this rodeo to always be welcoming,” she notes.

Michel agrees. “One of the special benefits of participation at the EWC is the superb networking interactions and collaboration that takes place,” he says.

 “From the first moments that attendees walk into our opening reception on Monday night until the close of the optional workshops on Thursday, one can see a rich exchange happening amongst circles of attendees. Introductions are being made. Connections are developing into business opportunities. The sum of an attendee’s experience at the Executive War College is to gain as much knowledge from the networking and collaboration as they do from the sessions.”

–Gienna Shaw

Orchid Health Announces Release of First Commercially-Available Whole Genome Sequencing Service for Certain Diseases in Preimplantation Embryos

Clinical laboratory managers should note that this company’s new diagnostic offering involving screening embryos for specific genetic conditions is not without controversy

Is the world ready for whole genome sequencing (WGS) of preimplantation embryos to help couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments know if their embryos  have potential genetic health problems? Orchid Health, a clinical preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) laboratory that conducts genetic screening in San Francisco, believes the answer is yes! But the cost is high, and the process is not without controversy.

According to an article in Science, Orchid’s service—a sequencings of the whole human genome of preimplantation embryos at $2,500 per embryo tested—“will look not just for single-gene mutations that cause disorders such as cystic fibrosis, but also more extensively for medleys of common and rare gene variants known to predispose people to neurodevelopmental disorders, severe obesity, and certain psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia.”

However, Science also noted that some genomics researchers “claim the company inappropriately uses their data to generate some of its risk estimates,” adding that the “Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), an international group of more than 800 researchers working to decode the genetic and molecular underpinnings of mental health conditions, says Orchid’s new test relies on data [PGC] produced over the past decade, and that the company has violated restrictions against the data’s use for embryo screening.”

There are some who assert that a whole genome sequence of an embryo—given today’s state of genetic technology and knowledge—could generate information that cannot be interpreted accurately in ways that help parents and doctors make informed prenatal testing decisions. At the same time, criticisms expressed by the PGC raise reasonable points.

Perhaps this is a sign of the times. Orchid Health is the latest genetic testing company that is looking to get ahead of genetic testing competitors with its diagnostics offerings. Meanwhile, knowledgeable and credible experts question the appropriateness of this testing, given the genetic knowledge that exists today.

Noor Siddiqui

“This is a major advance in the amount of information parents can have,” Orchid’s founder and CEO Noor Siddiqui (above) told CNBC. “The way that you can use that information is really up to you, but it gives a lot more control and confidence into a process that, for all of history, has just been totally left to chance.” Should Orchid Health’s analysis prove useful, pediatricians could order further clinical laboratory prenatal testing to confirm and diagnose potential genetic diseases for parents. (Photo copyright: General Assembly.)

Orchid Receives World-class Support

Regardless of the pushback from some genetic researchers, Orchid has attracted several world-class geneticists and genetics investors to its board of advisors. They include:

The WGS test, according to Orchid, detects genetic errors in embryos that are linked to severe illnesses before a pregnancy even begins. And by sequencing 99% of an embryo’s DNA, the test can spot potential health risks that could affect a future baby.

According to its website, the PGT lab company uses the WGS data to identify both monogenic (single-gene) and polygenic (multiple-gene) diseases, including:

The company also claims its genetic screening can predict the risk of brain health issues in the unborn, such as Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, as well as heart health issues such atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease.

Other health problems such as celiac disease and Type I/II diabetes also can be forecasted with the test, Orchid claims. 

Not all Genetics Experts Agree

Orchid is not without its critics. Knowledgeable, credible experts have questioned the appropriateness of this type of genetic testing. They fear it could become a modern-day form of eugenics.

Andrew McQuillin, PhD, Professor of Molecular Psychiatry at University College London, has concerns about Orchid’s preimplantation genetic testing. He maintains that it is difficult to control how such data is used, and that even the most accurate sequencing techniques do not predict disease risk very well. 

“[Polygenic risk scores are] useful in the research context, but at the individual level, they’re not actually terribly useful to predict who’s going to develop schizophrenia or not,” McQuillin told Science. “We can come up with guidance on how these things should be used. The difficulty is that official guidance like that doesn’t feature anywhere in the marketing from these companies.”

McQuillin also stated that researchers must have an extensive discussion regarding the implications of this type of embryo screening.

“We need to take a look at whether this is really something we should be doing. It’s the type of thing that, if it becomes widespread, in 40 years’ time, we will ask, ‘What on Earth have we done?’” McQuillin emphasized.

Redefining Reproduction

It takes about three weeks for couples to receive their report back from Orchid after completing the whole genome sequence of a preimplantation embryo. A board-certified genetic counselor then consults with the parents to help them understand the results. 

Founder and CEO Noor Siddiqui hopes Orchid will be able to scale up its operations and introduce more automation to the testing process to the cost per embryo.

“We want to make this something that’s accessible to everyone,” she told CNBC.

“I think this has the potential to totally redefine reproduction,” she added. “I just think that’s really exciting to be able to make people more confident about one of the most important decisions of their life, and to give them a little bit more control.”

Clinical laboratories have long been involved in prenatal screening to gain insight into risk levels associated with certain genetic disorders. Even some of that testing comes with controversy and ambiguous findings. Whether Orchid Health’s PGT process delivers accurate, reliable diagnostic insights regarding preimplantation embryos remains to be seen.

—JP Schlingman

Related Information:

Genetics Group Slams Company for Using Its Data to Screen Embryos’ Genomes

Reproductive Startup Launches Test to Identify an Embryo’s Genetic Defects Before an IVF Pregnancy Begins

What Is the Difference Between Monogenic and Polygenic Diseases?

First Clinical Validation of Whole Genome Screening on Standard Trophectoderm Biopsies of Preimplantation Embryos

Orchid Tests Embryos for Genetic Diseases. It Just Raised $12 Million with This 11-Slide Pitch Deck

Stanford Researchers Discover Junk DNA Affects Gene Expression

Research findings could lead to new biomarkers for genetic tests and give clinical laboratories new capabilities to diagnose different health conditions

New insights continue to emerge about “junk DNA” (aka, non-coding DNA). For pathologists and clinical laboratories, these discoveries may have value and eventually lead to new biomarkers for genetic testing.

One recent example comes from researchers at Stanford Medicine in California who recently learned how non-coding DNA—which makes up 98% of the human genome—affects gene expression, the function that leads to observable characteristics in an organism (phenotypes).

The research also could lead to a better understanding of how short tandem repeats (STRs)—the number of times a gene is copied into RNA for protein use—affect gene expression as well, according to Stanford.

Scientists at Stowers Institute for Medical Research and Duke University School of Medicine contributed to the study.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Science titled, “Short Tandem Repeats Bind Transcription Factors to Tune Eukaryotic Gene Expression.”

Polly Fordyce, PhD

“We’ve known for a while that short tandem repeats or STRs, aren’t junk because their presence or absence correlates with changes in gene expression. But we haven’t known how they exert these effects,” said study lead Polly Fordyce, PhD (above), Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Genetics at Stanford University, in a news release. The research could lead to new clinical laboratory biomarkers for genetic testing. (Photo copyright: Stanford University.)


To Bind or Not to Bind

In their Science paper, the Stanford researchers described an opportunity to explore a new angle to transcription factors binding to some sequences, also known as sequence motifs.

“Researchers have spent a lot of time characterizing these transcription factors and figuring out which sequences—called motifs—they like to bind to the most,” said the study lead Polly Fordyce, PhD, Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Genetics at Stanford University, in a Stanford Medicine news release.

“But current models don’t adequately explain where and when transcription factors bind to non-coding DNA to regulate gene expression. Sometimes, no transcription factor is attached to something that looks like a perfect motif. Other times, transcription factors bind to stretches of DNA that aren’t motifs,” the news release explains.

Transcription factors are “like light switches that can turn genes on or off depending on what cells need,” notes a King’s College London EDIT Lab blog post.

But why do transcription factors target some places in the genome and not others?

“To solve the puzzle of why transcription factors go to some places in the genome and not to others, we needed to look beyond the highly preferred motifs,” Fordyce added. “In this study, we’re showing that the STR sequence around the motif can have a really big effect on transcription factor binding, providing clues as to what these repeated sequences might be doing.”

Such information could aid in understanding certain hereditary conditions and diseases. 

“Variations in STR length have been associated with changes in gene expression and implicated in several complex phenotypes such as schizophrenia, cancer, autism, and Crohn’s disease. However, the mechanism by which STRs affect transcription remains unknown,” the researchers wrote in Science.

Special Assays Explore Binding

According to their paper, the research team turned to the Fordyce Lab’s previously developed microfluidic binding assays (MITOMI, kMITOMI, and STAMMP) to analyze the impact of different DNA sequences on transcription factor binding.

“In the experiment we asked, ‘How do these changes impact the strength of transcription factor binding?’ We saw a surprisingly large effect. Varying the STR sequence around a motif can have a 70-fold impact on the binding,” Fordyce wrote.

In an accompanying Science article titled, “Repetitive DNA Regulates Gene Expression,” Thomas Kuhlman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Riverside, wrote that the study “demonstrates that STRs exert their effects by directly binding transcription factor proteins, thus explaining how STRs might influence gene expression in both normal and diseased states.”

Junk DNA Affects Blood Pressure

In another study, researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), which is affiliated with the University of Toronto, Ontario, examined the possible effect of non-coding DNA on genes related to blood pressure.

“This research unveils, for the first time, the intricate connection between how variants in the non-coding genome affect genes that are associated with blood pressure and with hypertension. What we’ve created is a kind of functional map of the regulators of blood pressure genes, “said Philipp Maass, PhD, Lead Researcher and Assistant Professor Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, in a news release.

The research team used massively parallel reporter assay (MPRA) technology to analyze 4,608 genetic variants associated with blood pressure.

In “Systematic Characterization of Regulatory Variants of Blood Pressure Genes,” published in the journal Cell Genomics, the SickKids scientists noted that high throughput technology identified “regulatory variants at blood pressure loci.”

The findings could aid precision medicine for cardiovascular health and may possibly be adopted to other conditions, according to The Hospital for Sick Children.

“The variants we have characterized in the non-coding genome could be used as genomic markers for hypertension, laying the groundwork for future genetic research and potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease,” Maass noted.

Why All the ‘Junk’ DNA?

Clinical laboratory scientists may wonder why genetic research has primarily focused on 20,000 genes within the genome, leaving the “junk” DNA for later investigation. So did researchers at Harvard University.

“After the Human Genome Project, scientists found that there were around 20,000 genes within the genome, a number that some researchers had already predicted. Remarkably, these genes comprise only about 1-2% of the three billion base pairs of DNA. This means that anywhere from 98-99% of our entire genome must be doing something other than coding for proteins,” they wrote in a blog post.

“Imagine being given multiple volumes of encyclopedias that contained a coherent sentence in English every 100 pages, where the rest of the space contained a smattering of uninterpretable random letters and characters. You would probably start to wonder why all those random letters and characters were there in the first place, which is the exact problem that has plagued scientists for decades,” they added.

Not only is junk DNA an interesting study subject, but ongoing research may also produce useful new biomarkers for genetic diagnostics and other clinical laboratory testing. Thus, medical lab professionals may want to keep an eye on new developments involving non-coding DNA.   

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

Stanford Medicine-led Study Clarifies How “Junk DNA” Influences Gene Expression

Short Tandem Repeats Bind Transcription Factors to Tune Eukaryotic Gene Expression

J for Junk DNA Does Not Exist!

Repetitive DNA Regulates Gene Expression

Illuminating Genetic Dark Matter: How “Junk DNA” Influences Blood Pressure

Systematic Characterization of Regulatory Variants of Blood Pressure Genes

The 99 Percent of the Human Genome

All of Us Genomic Research Program Hits Milestone of 250,000 Whole Genome Sequences

Expanded genomic dataset includes a wider racial diversity which may lead to improved diagnostics and clinical laboratory tests

Human genomic research has taken another important step forward. The National Institutes of Health’s All of Us research program has reached a milestone of 250,000 collected whole genome sequences. This accomplishment could escalate research and development of new diagnostics and therapeutic biomarkers for clinical laboratory tests and prescription drugs.

The wide-reaching program aimed at gathering diverse genomic data is giving scientists access to the nearly quarter million whole genome sequences—as well as genotyping arrays, long-read genome sequences, and more—to aid precision medicine studies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced in a news release.

The NIH’s All of Us program “has significantly expanded its data to now include nearly a quarter million whole genome sequences for broad research use. About 45% of the data was donated by people who self-identify with a racial or ethnic group that has been historically underrepresented in medical research,” the news release noted.

Detailed information on this and future data releases is available at the NIH’s All of us Data Roadmap.

Andrea Ramirez, MD

“For years, the lack of diversity in genomic datasets has limited our understanding of human health,” said Andrea Ramirez, MD, Chief Data Officer, All of Us Research Program, in the news release. Clinical laboratories performing genetic testing may look forward to new biomarkers and diagnostics due to the NIH’s newly expanded gene sequencing data set. (Photo copyright: Vanderbilt University.)

Diverse Genomic Data is NIH’s Goal

NIH launched the All of Us genomic sequencing program in 2018. Its aim is to involve more than one million people from across the country and reflect national diversity in its database.

So far, the program has grown to include 413,450 individuals, with 45% of participants self-identifying “with a racial or ethnic group that has been historically under-represented in medical research,” NIH said.

“By engaging participants from diverse backgrounds and sharing a more complete picture of their lives—through genomic, lifestyle, clinical, and social environmental data—All of Us enables researchers to begin to better pinpoint the drivers of disease,” said Andrea Ramirez, MD, Chief Data Officer of the All of Us research program, in the news release.

More than 5,000 researchers are currently registered to use NIH’s All of Us genomic database. The vast resource contains the following data:

  • 245,350 whole genome sequences, which includes “variation at more than one billion locations, about one-third of the entire human genome.”
  • 1,000 long-read genome sequences to enable “a more complete understanding of the human genome.”
  • 413,350 survey responses.
  • 337,500 physical measurements.
  • 312,900 genotyping arrays.
  • 287,000 electronic health records.
  • 15,600 Fitbit records (data on sleep, activity, step count, heart rate).

The research could lead to:

  • Better understanding of genetic risk factors for disease.
  • Development of predictive markers for disease risk.
  • Analysis of drugs effectiveness in different patients.

Data Shared with Participants

Participants in the All of Us program, are also receiving personalized health data based on their genetic sequences, which Dark Daily previously covered.

In “US National Institutes of Health All-of-Us Research Program Delivering Genetic Test Results and Personalized Disease Risk Assessments to 155,000 Study Participants,” we reported how the NIH had “begun returning personalized health-related DNA results” to more than 155,000 study participants. In addition, participants who requested their results will receive genetic reports that detail whether they “have an increased risk for specific health conditions and how their body might process certain medications.”

“Through a partnership with participants, researchers, and diverse communities across the country, we are seeing incredible progress towards powering scientific discoveries that can lead to a healthier future for all of us,” said Josh Denny, MD, Chief Executive Officer, All of Us Research Program, in the news release.

Cloud-based Tool Aids Access to Data

The All of Us program makes a cloud-based platform—called Researcher Workbench—available to scientists for the study of genetic variation and other issues, Inside Precision Medicine explained.

“[Researchers] can get access to the tools and the data they need to conduct a project with our resources in as little as two hours once their institutional data use agreement is signed,” said Fornessa Randal, Executive Director, Center for Asian Health Equity, University of Chicago, in a YouTube video about Researcher Workbench.

A paper published in Annual Review of Biomedical Data Science titled, “The All of Us Data and Research Center: Creating a Secure, Scalable, and Sustainable Ecosystem for Biomedical Research,” noted that  the diseases most often being studied by researchers using All of Us data include:

Database’s Growth Good for Precise Diagnostics

For diagnostics professionals, the growth of available whole human genome sequences as well as access to participants in the All of Us program is noteworthy.

Also impressive is the better representation of diversity. Such information could result in medical laboratories having an expanded role in precision medicine.  

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

All of Us Research Program Makes Nearly 250,000 Whole Genome Sequences Available to Advance Precision Medicine

US National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program Delivering Genetic Test Results and Personalized Disease Risk Assessments to 155,000 Study Participants

All of Us Research Hub

All of Us Researcher Workbench

All of Us Program Expands Whole Genome Data Available to Researchers

All of Us Releases Almost 250,000 Genomes

All of Us Data and Research Center Creating a Secure, Scalable, and Sustainable Ecosystem for Biomedical Research

Mapping Out the Human Genome

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