DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger Health System announced today it has reached 150,000 participants in its major biobank and DNA sequencing study known as the MyCode Community Health Initiative. 

“This is an important milestone for us and it’s only the beginning,” said David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D., Geisinger executive vice president and chief scientific officer.  “Each and every new participant allows us to perform research that will help us find new ways to anticipate or identify sometimes life-threatening medical conditions early and greatly improve health outcomes.” 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly 2 million people in the United States are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes because they have genetic mutations which predispose them to one of just three conditions: breast and ovarian cancers, Lynch syndrome cancers and hereditary high cholesterol.

These are three key conditions among the total of 27 conditions or diseases that Geisinger is informing MyCode participants about as a result of the nation’s largest genomic sequencing study.

Launched in January 2014 in collaboration with the Regeneron Genetics Center, the population genomics program originally set out to recruit 100,000 new study participants over five years. That target has been rapidly surpassed and the goal reset to 250,000.

In the past year, MyCode has increased enrollment and expanded its reach from Pennsylvania into Geisinger-affiliated hospitals in New Jersey where, in only 8 months of operation, over 8,000 participants have already signed up. 

“For me, population health is taking better care of our patients. But it also means anticipating their medical needs when we can,” said Geisinger President and CEO David T. Feinberg, M.D.  

“We're one of the only organizations taking a population approach to genomics with our MyCode Community Health Initiative. To me, what we’re doing is really anticipatory medicine. It's coming up with medically actionable genomic results and giving that information back to our patients. And no one else is doing that on this scale.”

The growing database of information coming out of the MyCode precision health project represents a boon to current and future research but it is also providing Geisinger patients with personalized health care information that is impacting lives and changing health outcomes.

Geisinger patients who participated in the program have had cancers detected earlier than they might otherwise have been and heart disease identified before any clinical symptoms were present. 

Families are discovering possible explanations for medical events in their family histories and learning to take earlier pro-active measures for themselves and for their children.

On the research side, just in the past six months alone important scientific studies resulting from work on MyCode data have been published in major national journals, including Science and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 

One recent NEJM study found people with certain mutations in a gene associated with cholesterol levels are up to 41 percent less likely to get coronary artery disease, leading to the potential for life-saving new drugs that mimic the effect of the mutations.

For more information or to follow the program’s progress, see: go.geisinger.org/mycode. 


About Geisinger
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey with the addition of AtlantiCare, a National Malcolm Baldrige Award recipient. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 12 hospital campuses, two research centers and a 551,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $10.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economy. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or follow the latest Geisinger news and more on Twitter and Facebook.

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