About the Alabama Genomic Health InitiativeUnlocking the potential in the human genome is part of the future of health care, and as the state’s leader in genomic medicine, UAB Medicine is taking a major step forward with the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI).
The program is aimed at preventing and treating disease, including certain types of cancer, heart problems, and genetic disorders. In collaboration with the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, UAB Medicine will provide genomic testing, interpretation, and counseling free of charge to residents in each of Alabama’s 67 counties. The AGHI also includes a major focus on research, through which data from test results will be used to advance scientific understanding of the role that genes play in health and disease.
The Alabama Genomic Health Initiative is one of the nation's first statewide efforts to harness the power of genomic analysis in helping identify those who are at risk for diseases for genomic abnormalities. AGHI Leadership includes members from UAB, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Tuskegee University, nationally recognized institutions that are leaders in bioethics and genomic medicine.
HOW IT WORKS
Volunteers will be recruited at sites across the state, starting in Birmingham. They will donate a small blood sample.
DNA, extracted from that sample, will be analyzed with genotype arrays for volunteers upon their consent; individuals with indications of genetic disease will receive whole-genome sequencing.
All volunteers will receive a findings report. Healthy volunteers who have actionable mutations (predicted to be 1–3 percent of participants) and those who have had whole-genome sequencing will receive genetic counseling and referrals to appropriate medical care.
Study data will create a statewide genomic database that could give researchers new insight into prevention and treatment of gene related diseases. The AGHI also will help educate health providers statewide about genomic medicine and advance a genomics-ready population and health care workforce in Alabama.