GGC Receives $600,000 Duke Endowment Grant for Next-Generation Sequencing

February 6, 2012 - The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), which comprises the Department of Medical Genetics at Self Regional Healthcare, has been awarded a 2-year grant from The Duke Endowment to fund an expansion of Next-Generation Gene Sequencing (NGGS) technology.

NGGS technology allows for the development of diagnostic testing panels to simultaneously analyze all known genes responsible for a genetic condition. This advanced approach is more cost-effective and thorough than testing gene-by-gene. Currently, GGC is one of only a few laboratories in the US to offer an NGGS diagnostic panel on a clinical basis. GGC's current panel tests for mutations within 92 genes known to play a role in intellectual disability (formerly known as mental retardation). The support from the Endowment will allow for the addition of four more panels for conditions that have a significant genetic component and for which physicians often have difficulty in identifying a specific cause. The panels planned over the next two years include autism, seizures, birth defects and skeletal disorders. Collectively these complex disorders affect 1 in 14 South Carolinians.

"The addition of the new panels will provide an overall improvement in the evaluation of individuals with complex genetic conditions - allowing for a specific diagnosis in many patients," said Steve Skinner, MD, GGC Director. "Having a clear diagnosis is the necessary first step to improved healthcare management and recurrence risk assessment for these patients and their families."

The autism and seizure panels are expected to be clinically available in 2012, followed by the birth defects and skeletal disorders panels.

"Very few medical institutions have the ability to use this NGGS technology effectively," explained Jim Pfeiffer, President and CEO of Self Regional Healthcare. "Our Department of Medical Genetics at GGC has assembled the necessary molecular geneticists, technical expertise, and data analysis capability to become the NGGS resource for all of South Carolina."

For additional information contact the Greenwood Genetic Center at www.ggc.org or 1-888-442-4363.

About The Duke Endowment
The Duke Endowment, located in Charlotte, N.C., Seeks to fulfill the legacy of James B. Duke by improving lives and communities in the Carolinas through higher education, health care, rural churches and children's services. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded $2.8 billion in grants.

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