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Illumina and Genetic Alliance Launch Global Initiative to Expand Access to WGS

November 17, 2021

Sequencing giant Illumina and the global nonprofit Genetic Alliance unveiled the iHope Genetic Health program aimed at providing whole-genome sequencing to patients across the globe impacted by genetic disease.

At least half of iHope Genetic Health’s efforts will be focused on areas of the world in need outside the United States with more than one-third of Illumina’s support being dedicated to patients in Africa.

“By establishing iHope Genetic Health, we are expanding our commitment to ensure that the benefits derived from whole-genome sequencing are available to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, regardless of disease, geography, or income,” said Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina. “By unlocking the power of the human genome, we can find answers for these patients where no others can, and dramatically change lives.”

Through the program, Illumina will enable Genetic Alliance to create networks of clinics, and laboratories equipped with the necessary genome technology to provide precision genomic diagnoses to patients suffering from rare genetic disease. As part of the program, Genetic Alliance will also partner with pharmaceutical and technology companies, and care providers to support patient access to data, therapeutic interventions, and ongoing supportive care.

“As the mother of two children, diagnosed with a genetic condition, I can’t rest until we build equitable systems to meet the needs of all who experience the diagnostic odyssey,” said Genetic Alliance CEO, Sharon Terry. “In iHope Genetic Health we recognize the place of individuals, families, and communities to prioritize and solve the problems they face, consistent with their own values and culture.”

iHope Genetic Health will build upon the success of Illumina’s existing iHope efforts, further extending the reach of the program and enabling clinical laboratories and care centers throughout the world to test patients impacted by rare disease and other genetic health conditions.

To ensure support for patients throughout their diagnostic and care journey iHope Genetic Health will be supported by a network of disease advocacy, technology, pharmaceutical, and clinical support organizations.

iHope Genetic Health will begin reviewing applications for clinical whole genome sequencing programs in February 2022.

“We have a moral imperative to help genetic disease patients who need a diagnosis,” said Ryan Taft, Illumina’s iHope lead and vice president of scientific research. “iHope Genetic Health will change the trajectory of genomic medicine worldwide, helping patients who may have otherwise been invisible. Our vision is a genome for every patient that needs one, and a network of partners who will help them on every part of their journey to better health.”

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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