Clinical OMICS

SEP-OCT 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 44 of 51 September/October 2018 Clinical OMICs 43 The Saudi Human Genome Program aims to sequence 100,000 samples (normal and disease) from the Saudi pop- ulation over five years. Saudi Arabia's population of roughly 32 million may seem low to Westerners, yet Saudi Arabia is concerned about its high rate of severe inherited diseases. These impact 8% of births in the Kingdom, as well as its higher rate of common genetic disorders; more than 20% of the population has diabetes, and more than 30% is affected by obesity. Another health challenge is the Kingdom's 57% consanguinity rate, mostly through first-cousin mar- riages. Authorities blame the high prevalence of genetic disease for the $30 billion-plus spent annually by Saudi Arabia on healthcare. The Saudi Arabian government has approved $200 mil- Saudi Human Genome Program SAUDI ARABIA One of the newest public genome research initiatives launched in May in Australia, is The Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission. It was launched after the national government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull com- mitted A$500 million (about $370 million) over the next 10 years for the nation's first national human genome project. The Mission is intended to foster and fund new research, clinical trials, and technologies, all with the goal of helping Australians to live longer and better by expanding access to genomics knowledge and technology. The Mission's first project, at A$20 million (nearly $15 million), is "Mackenzie's Mission," a pre-pregnancy screening program designed to detect rare and debilitating genetic birth disorders. The project is named for Mackenzie Casella, who last year lost her life to spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Components of the Mission include new and expanded "flagship" clinical studies of rare diseases, rare cancers, and complex conditions; clinical trials designed to help translate technology applications into patient care; and increased academic and research collaborations. The ini- tiative will also develop national standards and protocols to enhance data gathering and analysis; facilitate dialogue promote the value of genomics to the broader community; and encourage government partnerships with philanthropists and businesses. One such partnership was announced in June, when the government agreed to provide A$2 mil- lion (about $1.5 million) to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. The funding is intended to support four research priorities: making early diagnosis and treat- ment of cerebral palsy the standard of care in Australia, clin- ical trials of new interventions in high risk infants, a trial of TheraSuit intensive therapy, and new therapies during pregnancy designed to prevent cerebral palsy. "It is my hope that further research and advancement in medical technology including genomics will change the lives of those with cerebral palsy. Many cases of cerebral palsy have been shown to have a genomics link," stated Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt. Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission AUSTRALIA (continued on next page) monsitj / Getty Images

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