January 07, 2014

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sanford Health, a South Dakota-based non-profit health system, said today it will use a $125 million gift to establish a new clinical genomic medicine initiative called Sanford Imagenetics that will stretch across multiple US regions.

The new program will integrate genetic testing in primary care for adult patients with a research program that seeks to define which markers are most successful, Sanford Health said.

Sanford Clinic President Dan Blue said in a statement that Sanford Health will “take a national lead role in using existing genetic markers and incorporating future discoveries for internists to individualize care for patients with cancer, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and other conditions.”

“We will also study the outcomes to evaluate the efficacy of this approach as well as in-depth bioinformatics research focused on the practical clinical interpretation of the complicated biological data,” added Gene Hoyme, president of Sanford Research.

Beginning later this year, Sanford Imagenetics will offer patients the opportunity to take genetic tests and undergo genetic counseling, and physicians will use their patients’ genetic information to prescribe medications and dosage, and to determine which treatments to use, such as statins or blood thinners.

Sanford Health said it will have dedicated facilities “in all major markets” to implement the new program, including spaces to house the internal medicine practice, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, research, education, and lab services. Sanford Health also said it is the largest rural non-profit healthcare system in the country, with 39 hospitals, 140 clinics, and 1,360 physicians located in 126 communities in nine states.

To launch the initiative, Sanford Health said it has already started recruiting internal medicine and genetics staff to support the Imagenetics program, and it has developed partnerships with Augustana College and the University of South Dakota to develop academic programs to train doctors, scientists, and nurses in genomic medicine.

The $125 million donation was provided by philanthropist Denny Sanford, who has already given nearly half a billion dollars to Sanford Health.


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