If you’d like to know whether people want access to their genetic information and will participate in research, just go to Nevada.
Gov. Brian Sandoval was one of the first to sign up, and in less than a day more 5,000 of his fellow “Silver State” residents joined him to be part of an innovative population health study being conducted by Renown Health and the Desert Research Institute and powered by 23andMe.
“Surpassing an ambitious enrollment goal of 5000 people in less than 24 hours is unheard of in research studies,” said Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe’s CEO and cofounder.
The pilot study — which kicked off in September and was expanded to 10,000 residents to meet the huge demand — offers participants access to their 23andMe results at no costs. Researchers will then use health and environmental information with genetic and phenotypic data from study participants to look at ways to improve health in the state.
“This is a (project) that other communities can learn from,” said Dr. Anthony Slonim, president and CEO of Renown Health.
The hope is that the study will enable researchers to build predictive models that could in turn be used to learn more about public health issues in the state, and ultimately improve the health of Nevadans.
This study uses a service developed by 23andMe called Genotyping Services for Research (GSR), a platform that gives researchers a simple end-to-end solution to incorporate genetic information into their studies regardless of their expertise in genetics.
“We choose the Genotyping Services for Research platform because it’s the only platform that enables us to give something back to the research participants. Participant engagement is key to the success of this project. On the research side we don’t have to build a CLIA-certified lab or other infrastructure, to do our own work,” said Joseph Grzymski, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the study. “So the merging of the two is extremely powerful.”
Beyond that, 23andMe’s GSR platform allows researchers to return results to people who are participating in these studies, said Ruby Gadelrab, 23andMe’s vice president of commercial marketing.
“Typically research studies don’t do that,” she said. “GSR is currently the only genotyping service that enables researchers to give something back to participants in the form of the 23andMe customer experience.”
Check out the video to learn more about this promising new study.