DNAnexus and Sutter Health have partnered with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC ) to launch a clinico-genomic study aimed at improving personalised therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Under the large-scale research project, the Sutter Health Center for Precision Medicine team will add de-identified clinico-genomic data from more than 3,000 patients to the DNAnexus Apollo Platform.

This input of datasets to the DNAnexus platform is expected to allow rapid analysis and visualisation of data within a secure environment, as well as facilitate collaboration between researchers from the constituent organisations involved in the partnership.

The Genome Center at UPMC will generate clinical-grade genomic data from samples obtained from the study participants.

As part of the first phase of the study, Sutter researchers will recruit more than 500 patients starting next month. The phase will involve capture of electronic health record (EHR) data, patient-reported outcomes, imaging data, blood samples and also whole exome sequencing (WES) data from UPMC.

“With its diverse patient population and powerful EHR data on long-term MS patients, the team at Sutter Health is poised to lead this next era of precision medicine for MS.”

Bioinformaticians at DNAnexus will use analysis pipelines to process WES data and then link the results with clinical data on the Apollo platform.

The platform will be used by Sutter Health clinicians, researchers and some partners to examine patients’ clinical and genomic features that relate to MS subtypes, staging, disability progression, MRI changes, symptoms and response to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).

DNAnexus CEO Richard Daly said: “With its diverse patient population and powerful EHR data on long-term MS patients, the team at Sutter Health is poised to lead this next era of precision medicine for MS.

“We are looking forward to working with Sutter and UPMC on this MS study and other real-world data projects for additional complex disorders in the future.”

DNAnexus has also launched a new programme called Clinico-Genomic Data Solution to build a network of healthcare partners focused on improving screening, diagnosis and treatments for complex diseases.

The network is expected to cater to the need for longitudinal, disease-specific datasets. It allows ongoing data streams on the Apollo Platform to back precision health and drug discovery programmes.