Color gets $4.6M NIH grant for population-wide genetic counseling

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California genomics company Color has been awarded a $4.6 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to set up a nationwide genetic counseling service for use in its All of Us sequencing program.

The All of Us program will involve the sequencing of genomes for 1 million people in the U.S. The grant will be used by Color to provide genetic counseling services through its network of testing specialists. This will include relaying results for genetic mutations that put people at higher risk for cancers, such as BRCA mutations. In a statement, Brad Ozenberger, PhD, All of Us genetics program director, said that a "genetic counseling award of this size is a first for NIH."

Color has already been involved in the All of Us program. In September 2018, the NIH awarded a grant to Color to establish a genomics center for the program, working in partnership with the Broad Institute and Partners HealthCare's Laboratory for Molecular Medicine. The partners will analyze and report genomic data for 59 genes associated with diseases, including breast and ovarian cancer and familial hypercholesterolemia.

The NIH anticipates the genetic information gathered through the program will be used to understand the biology of diseases, with goals such as the development of personalized treatment.

Color's genetic counseling services will be available to all participants to discuss their results, according to the NIH.

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