For research and clinical trials to succeed, it requires clearing some big hurdles – notably technology, financing and human factors.
Phoenix-based Banner Health has been a leading participant in President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative and the All of Us Research Program that has grown from it, which seeks to assemble a million-person cohort to help speed genomic insights.
Another National Institutes of Health project on which it has taken the lead is GeneMatch, a national initiative that helps recruit participants for Alzheimer’s prevention studies, does genetic testing to match volunteers with various research opportunities and helps scientists nationwide find a quorum of qualified participants for new studies.
Jessica Langbaum, BAI’s principal scientist Jessica Langbaum points out that 80 percent of research studies don’t complete enrollment on time, because they can’t recruit enough volunteers.
The focus here is one specific gene, the ApoE gene, “which is the best-established risk factor for the form of Alzheimer’s that strikes at older ages,” said Langbaum. “And the reason this was so needed was that there’s a number of Alzheimer’s prevention studies that are underway or in various stage of planning that are looking for healthy individuals who are at increased risks for developing the disease.”
GeneMatch, she said, “has proven to be a game changer for us as a way to accelerate enrollment and better match people to clinical trials. It’s proving to be a very efficient way to find those who are eligible and match them to a study faster.”
In October, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute partnered with Vantari Genetics, a company that conducts clinical diagnostics and esoteric genetic testing, and Translational Software, which uses a FHIR-based API to help deliver genomic-based clinical decision support at the point of care.