NIH commits $313M over four years to sequencing genomics of human disease

The National Institutes of Health has launched a program to explore the role of genomics in common diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and autism. This program, along with the continuation of another program dedicated to the study of genomics underlying rare diseases like cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy, has gained a commitment for $313 million in NIH funding from various agencies over the next four years.

The bulk of the funding, $260 million, will go to the newly launched Centers for Common Disease Genomics (CCDG) that will research the genomics involved in common diseases with an additional $49 million going to the already-established Centers for Mendelian Genomics (CMG) for the study of genomics in rare diseases. And, finally, another $4 million will go to facilitate communication across all these researchers.

"The center investigators plan to use genome sequencing to identify as many of the genes and genomic variants underlying common diseases as possible," said Adam Felsenfeld, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Genome Sequencing Program, in a statement.

He continued, "Building on existing research, they will continue to uncover new biological insights into the development of common disease. At the same time, these studies will reveal genomic variants that may increase the risk for--or in some cases, protect against--diseases, which eventually might be helpful for their clinical management."

The financing for genomic research on common diseases from NHGRI will go to four sets of researchers at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard at Cambridge, MA ($80 million); Washington University at St. Louis, MO ($60 million); Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX ($60 million); and New York Genome Center in NY, NY ($40 million). An additional $20 million for this research will come from the the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

As for the rare disease-focused CMG program, which was initiated in 2011, NHGRI provided $40 million in funding support alongside an additional $8 million from NHLBI and $1 million from the National Eye Institute.

Specific awards went to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard at Cambridge, MA ($13.4 million); Yale University at New Haven, CT ($12 million); University of Washington in Seattle, WA, and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX ($12 million); and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and Baylor College of Medicine ($11.6 million).

 - here is the announcement