The All of Us Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, has named a consortia led by the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center (BCM-HGSC) as one of three centers responsible for generating clinical grade genomic data for the program. These centers will begin to generate genomic data from biosamples contributed by the program’s participants. Ultimately, this information will become a critical component in the program’s precision medicine research platform, a national resource to support studies on a variety of important health questions.
In this phase of the program, the genomic DNA sequence of the genomes of the participants will be determined by genotyping and whole genome sequencing. The BCM-HGSC will lead one of three efforts to generate the sequence and to provide clinical reports for key genes relevant to each participant’s health. The work will be carried out in the HGSC’s CAP/CLIA certified clinical laboratory and will engage the Johns Hopkins Genomics Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR) in Baltimore, led by CIDR director Dr. Kim Doheny, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Public Health, led by Dr. Eric Boerwinkle, dean of the UT School of Public Health. As the Baylor-Hopkins Clinical Genomics Center, these three groups bring decades of genomics, clinical and disease research expertise to the All of Us Research Program.
The HGSC participation follows an intensive period of building certified clinical assays based on genome testing. “The HGSC pioneered comprehensive clinical genome testing in pediatrics here in Houston. Now with the All of Us Research Program, we will have the opportunity to work with these critical technologies in a wide range of adult participants,” said Dr. Richard Gibbs, founding director of the HGSC at Baylor and principal investigator of the HGSC’s All of Us genome center.
The genotyping component of the All of Us Research Program will be the first level of genome data generated for many participants. “CIDR is delighted to bring our world-class genotyping to partner with the HGSC in this exciting program,” said Doheny.
The data communication and flow to the All of Us Data and Research Center will be a critical aspect of the new period and will draw on the group’s extensive cloud computing experience with commercial partners. “We pioneered large-scale genomic computing in the cloud with our partners at DNAnexus, and we will greatly expand and extend this work for the All of Us Research Program,” said Boerwinkle.
The All of Us Research Program is one of the country’s most ambitious biomedical research efforts ever undertaken. It aims to build a nationwide community of 1 million or more participants from all walks of life, including groups that have been historically underrepresented in research. Eligible adults, ages 18 and up, living in the United States are welcome to participate and so far, more than 110,000 people have registered with the program to begin this journey, and more than 60,000 have completed all elements of the core protocol. These participants are sharing different types of information, including through surveys, access to their electronic health records and blood and urine samples. Over time, they will continue to share information through additional surveys, biosamples, fitness trackers and more. These data, stripped of obvious identifiers, will be broadly accessible to researchers, whose findings may lead to more tailored treatments and prevention strategies in the future.
“The All of Us Research Program perfectly complements Baylor College of Medicine’s strategic plan, of which precision medicine is foundational. We are honored to be a part of this groundbreaking national program and look forward to contributing to this wonderful scientific resource,” said Dr. Adam Kuspa, senior vice president and dean of research at Baylor.