Genetic Counseling for a Million Person Study: Brainstorm Health

August 21, 2019, 9:19 PM UTC

Hello and happy hump day, readers.

Earlier today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a major partnership with the genetic testing firm Color Genomics.

Color will become the sole genetic counseling service for the NIH’s ambitious All of Us research program. The initiative aims to collect health data from 1 million Americans in an effort to understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle effects on individual well-being, and to spur personalized drug development and treatment.

With a $4.6 million initial grant, Color will be tasked with both providing genetic counseling for program participants and also creating some of the critical architecture for the overall All of Us project. Here are a few more details on what’s going on.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy,


Pfizer to add hundreds of jobs in gene therapy push. Drug giant Pfizer is set to add 300 jobs alongside a $500 million investment in its Sanford-based operations - a push specifically tailored towards its bet on gene therapy. 


AstraZeneca cancer drug flames out in lung cancer study. Ah, the drug industry. Following some legitimately good news for its diabetes drug Farxiga in heart failure patients, manufacturer AstraZeneca is facing a setback for a combination of its approved lung cancer drug Imfinzi and another experimental treatment to treat advanced cases of lung cancer. Investors appeared to take it in stride, especially given there weren't particularly high hopes for the combination among the shareholder crowd. (Reuters)


Laundry pod exposures are on the rise. My colleague Jake Meth has a followup to his extraordinary reporting on the public health effect of new detergent products such as Tide Pods. The update? "According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in the first seven months of 2019, there were 5,768 calls linked to laundry pods. That's an increase of 347, or 6.4%, when compared to the same period in 2018—and marks the first time that the number of 'exposures,' as such calls are known, has risen year-over-year during that seven-month period since 2016," Jake writes. (Fortune)


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