Microsoft et al to employ IT in ‘ground-breaking’ genetics research

SAN DIEGO – Microsoft, Scripps Health, Affymetrix and Navigenics will launch what the companies say is ground-breaking research to evaluate the impact of personal genetic testing on the health and psyche of a patient. The study will offer genetic scans to up to 10,000 employees, family and friends of Scripps Health system and will measure changes in participants’ behaviors over a 20-year period.

Researchers will use healthcare IT to study genetic variations linked to many diseases. “The study will afford researchers the opportunity to better understand ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease,”according toMicrosoft officials. “This project represents the largest single opportunity to date for modern genetics to move outside the laboratory and directly to consumers,” saidKevin King, president of Affymetrix. The study follows heated presidential election debates over how to reduce the costs of healthcare through better use of preventive care. It also comes as physicians and stakeholders continue to wrangle over the value and timing of using genetic information to treat patients.

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