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Illumina, Genomic Medicine Sweden to Evaluate Sequencing-Based Leukemia Diagnostics

NEW YORK – Illumina and Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) on Thursday announced a collaboration to assess whether whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and RNA sequencing can replace conventional first-line clinical diagnostic methods for acute leukemia.

Richard Rosenquist Brandell, GMS director and a professor at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, will lead the nationwide study of about 450 patients. All Swedish patients diagnosed with acute leukemia will be offered the opportunity to participate. Sequencing-based analyses will run in parallel to other diagnostics to see whether they can identify all clinically relevant genomic aberrations.

Illumina will provide materials for the project, contribute to the Health Economics and Outcomes Research analysis, provide sequencing data expertise, and advise on systems infrastructure. Financial and other details were not disclosed.

"In addition to the direct value for patients in diagnosis and monitoring of disease, this population-based study will generate invaluable data that will allow us to better understand the biology and pathology of leukemia," Rosenquist Brandell said in a statement. "Our hope is that the combination of WGS and RNA sequencing can also identify new genetic aberrations in the noncoding part of the genome that will increase our understanding of acute leukemia."

GMS is a national initiative in Sweden to implement genetic sequencing into routine clinical care. It has seven genomic medicine centers established at all Swedish university hospitals.  

Illumina has also worked with authorities in the UK to introduce WGS into clinical care. In January, Illumina signed a deal with Genomics England to sequence 300,000 genomes over five years.