Heritage 1K Project to Sequence 1,000 Utahns

The University of Utah launched the Heritage 1K Project to carry out whole genome sequencing of 1,000 people in Utah who have a history of certain diseases and conditions in their respective families. The project will focus on discovering the genetic causes of 25 conditions, including Parkinson’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Psoriasis, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Diabetes, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and other hereditary conditions.

Heritage 1K is made possible by a $12 million gift from philanthropist, surgeon and entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who in addition to his roles as CEO of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation and chairman and CEO of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, also holds leadership positions with National LambdaRail, the Healthcare Transformation Institute and NantWorks, LLC.  

“As a surgeon and entrepreneur, Patrick Soon-Shiong is widely viewed as a forward-thinking force in reshaping health care delivery. We are excited about our new partnership as we work together to move into a new era of genetic discoveries that will continue to change the face of health care as we know it,” said Vivian S. Lee, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah, Dean of the University’s School of Medicine, and CEO of University of Utah Health Care.

The ability to identify the genetic basis of disease through advances in genomic sequencing and sophisticated bioinformatics analyses is dramatically enhanced by access to families in whom these diseases seem to concentrate.  The University of Utah has been stewarding one of the most remarkable national resources for decades, the Utah Population Database, working in partnership with the many contributors of data. The Heritage 1K Project will expand and focus Utah Genome Project research discovery efforts to help patients prevent, diagnose, and successfully treat diseases that have afflicted their families.

Soon-Shiong said that the decision to partner with the University of Utah and the Utah Genome Project was an easy one. The institution has a rich legacy of genetic discovery, which includes the identification of more than 30 genes responsible for diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and cardiac arrhythmia.

“Part of fixing health care is finding ways to bring patients more information about their health histories so they are better equipped to make decisions with evidence-based information,” said Soon-Shiong. “I’m pleased to be working with a high-caliber institution that is committed to health care transformation and new ideas for how to improve patient health.”

Paving The Way For The Future