Three Leading Children’s Hospitals Will Expand Genomic Research Network with New NIH Grant

Published on in CHOP News

A research collaboration in sharing genomic data among Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and two other leading pediatric hospitals has received a multi-year federal grant to scale up the network and extend it to other institutions. The collaboration’s ultimate goal is to accelerate scientific discoveries and advance precision medicine treatments of genetic diseases in children.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health, recently awarded a multi-year grant (1UO1 TR002623-01A1CHOP) of more than $8.5 million over five years to the Genomics Research Innovation Network (GRIN). CHOP co-founded GRIN in 2015 with Boston Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Because even major hospitals may treat only a handful of patients with a specific rare condition, collaborative research networks leverage the power of numbers, pooling data to obtain larger patient cohorts. Larger numbers of cases enable researchers to better discover a condition’s underlying genetic causes as a basis for translating that knowledge into improved clinical care.

“Genomics is impacting all aspects of health care and research in pediatrics,” said geneticist Ian Krantz, MD, director of the Roberts Individualized Medical Genetics Center at CHOP, one of GRIN’s co-founders and a co-investigator on the new grant. “In order to optimize the utility of this information for breakthroughs in care and discovering new cures, we need a new model to share data collaboratively across institutions. GRIN has stepped up to do this and this award is a validation of this approach to transforming precision medicine.”

Krantz recently co-authored a paper describing GRIN in the journal Genetics in Medicine, along with GRIN co-founders Kenneth D. Mandl, MD, MPH, of Boston Children’s and Tracy Glauser, MD, of Cincinnati Children’s. In addition to detailing the origins and structure of the network, that paper also reports outcomes in three proof-of-concept pilot studies, in severe childhood epilepsy, early childhood obesity and growth disorders and short stature. A CHOP team published those epilepsy findings earlier this year.