On Thursday, June 9th, 2022, we were privileged to learn how Precision Medicine, a service of Intermountain Healthcare at our at St. George Regional Hospital, is involved in the ground-breaking HerediGene Population Study. The IHC project, in conjunction with deCode Genetics in Iceland, where the specimens are processed, is seeking to collect blood specimens from 500,000 participants and is the largest ongoing study of DNA ever conducted. In the audio recording of the Lunch and Learn program, you will hear comments by our guest speakers, Megan Pucci and Shawnee Snow, Business Operations Coordinators for Intermountain's Precision Genomics and Mart Roundy, Clinical Coordinator. Videos about the research in genetics as well as study information were part of the presentation so you will also hear the voices of Dr. Lincoln Nadauld, Executive Director of Precision Medicine and Precision Genomics and Healthcare, his colleagues and patients, who tell their stories about life-saving care they have received and their personal motivation for involvement in the study.
Because the population project is a research study comparing the DNA of many rather than a targeted analysis searching for possible mutations in a person's genetic make-up, the results may not be known for two to three years or more. Approximately three percent of the study group have been found to carry an "actionable" mutation (meaning that there is a currently available therapy for the condition), and will be informed about the finding and offered genetic counseling. Apart from collecting blood for the HerediGene study, which requires no physician order, a Primary Physician or other healthcare professional can request that Precision Genomics conduct an evaluation of an individual's DNA for indicators of disease or guidance in selecting effective medications or treatment modalities. Precision Medicine began with research in oncology but increasingly works in concert with other medical disciplines under the umbrellas of RxMatch and Pharmacogenomics. Studying the genomes of a patient with anxiety or depression, for example, can identify exactly which medication will work for that particular patient and eliminate a trial and error approach to care. It has been discovered there are six common genetic variants which cause vertigo. The knowledge gained from the study of Genomics has changed the future of medicine forever.