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This Company Will Provide Genetic Counseling for a Million Person NIH Study

August 21, 2019, 2:51 PM UTC

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has an official genetic counseling partner for its ambitious, million-person All of Us research program: Color Genomics, a DNA testing and genomic counseling specialist.

The NIH announced Wednesday that Color will receive a $4.6 million grant (part of $25 million over multiple years) in order to provide what Color describes as the “technological backbone” for the All of Us project. The company is also the sole grantee selected to set up and deliver genetic counseling for Americans participating in the program.

All of Us is an NIH initiative that was announced under former President Barack Obama. It aims to ultimately collect health and biometric data – including DNA and blood samples, lifestyle information, and environmental data – from one million Americans. The goal is to use this vast dataset in order to better understand what affects health for people of different races, genders, and geographic locations – and, in the process, help spur the development of personalized medicine.

Color will provide genetic counseling sessions to All of Us participants, include through telecounseling, in order to help them understand what their DNA test results mean and guide them through medical decision-making. It’s also tasked with creating the basic infrastructure for the massive project, including software systems that can easily communicate with each other and standardized reporting system to make the results easy to interpret.

“This ambitious program relies on a deeply unified process, which includes engaging participants, gathering health information, sequencing genomes, interpreting data, and securely and responsibly returning results,” said Color CEO Othman Laraki in a statement.

“We are honored to provide the technological backbone—software and services including our genetic counseling program—to extend the reach of this groundbreaking effort across all 50 states and showcase a scalable model for the integration of genomics into public health.”

All of Us officially began recruiting participants in May 2018. The NIH recently provided an update on the program: As of July 2019, 230,000 participants had enrolled, and another 40,000 had registered online. The NIH aims to recruit the full million by 2024.