The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with the Institute for Family Health to launch the first-ever genetic testing program in the primary care setting to identify genetic risk for kidney disease in African American patients with hypertension.
The program will be funded through a $3.7 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Primary care providers will use patients' genomic information at the point-of-care to individualize treatment, testing and monitoring with Mount Sinai's Clinical Implementation of Personalized Medicine through Electronic Health Records and Genomic Program, or CLIPMERGE, a clinical-decision support engine for delivering guidelines with genetic variants of clinical significance to enhance treatment.
Recent research has shown that one in eight African Americans have two copies of a version of the APOL1 gene, putting them at four to five times greater risk for developing chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease if they have high blood pressure.
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"Many patients do not have their blood pressure adequately controlled," Erwin Bottinger, MD, director of the Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a news release. Bottinger is one of two principal investigators of the grant. "We believe that with genomic information made available to doctors through a patient's electronic health record, we will be able to achieve better and stricter control of blood pressure and targeted use of medications that inhibit the renin angiotensin system, which are recommended in hypertensive patients at risk for kidney disease. More comprehensive tracking will also help ensure that optimal tests will be performed to stop progression of kidney disease."
A cluster-randomized controlled trial will be conducted at 12 primary care sites in New York, including practices at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Institute for Family Health, which operates an independent network of community health centers in Manhattan and the Bronx.
"Genes are another piece of the puzzle that may help explain why people of African descent have poorer health outcomes than people of European descent," Carol Horowitz, MD, co-principal investigator and co-director of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai's new Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research, said in a press statement. "We look forward to engaging with and helping educate our multicultural community partners, providers, and patients about the emerging role genetic testing will play in improving health."
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Neil Calman, MD, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, and professor and chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at Mount Sinai added, "Community-based primary care physicians have had little opportunity to incorporate genomics into the care of patients, and this grant offers us a tremendous opportunity. We hope to screen patients, identify those with increased genetic risk and work with them to prevent kidney disease. We will also train community-based primary care providers in how to discuss genetic risk with patients and their families and how to use genetic-based information in the electronic health record."