Genetic Testing for Kidney Disease Among African-Americans With Hypertension to Become Part of Primary Care Offerings Through Mount Sinai and Partners

$3.7 million federal grant supports use of genomic information to refine personalized medicine.

New York
 – July 31, 2013 /Press Release/  –– 

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with the Institute for Family Health to launch the first-ever genetic testing program in the primary care setting to identify genetic risk for kidney disease in patients with hypertension.

The program will be funded through a $3.7 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.  Primary-care providers will use patients' genomic information at the point-of-care to individualize treatment, testing and monitoring with Mount Sinai's Clinical Implementation of Personalized Medicine through Electronic Health Records and Genomic Program, or CLIPMERGE, a novel clinical-decision support engine for delivering guidelines with genetic variants of clinical significance to enhance treatment.

Recent research has shown that one in eight African Americans have two copies of a version of the APOL1 gene, putting them at four to five times greater risk for developing chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease if they have hypertension, or high blood pressure.

"Many patients do not have their blood pressure adequately controlled," said Erwin Bottinger, MD, Director of the Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and one of two principal investigators of the grant. "We believe that with genomic information made available to doctors through a patient's electronic health record, we will be able to achieve better and stricter control of blood pressure and targeted use of medications that inhibit the renin angiotensin system, which are recommended in hypertensive patients at risk for kidney disease. More comprehensive tracking will also help ensure that optimal tests will be performed to stop progression of kidney disease."

A cluster-randomized controlled trial will be conducted at 12 primary care sites in New York, including practices at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Institute for Family Health, which operates an independent network of community health centers in Manhattan and the Bronx.

"Genes are another piece of the puzzle that may help explain why people of African descent have poorer health outcomes than people of European descent," said Carol Horowitz, MD, MPH, co-principal investigator and co-director of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai's new Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research. "We look forward to engaging with and helping educate our multicultural community partners, providers, and patients about the emerging role genetic testing will play in improving health."

Neil Calman, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Family Health, and Professor and Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at Mount Sinai said, "Community-based primary care physicians have had little opportunity to incorporate genomics into the care of patients, and this grant offers us a tremendous opportunity. We hope to screen patients, identify those with increased genetic risk and work with them to prevent kidney disease.  We will also train community-based primary care providers in how to discuss genetic risk with patients and their families and how to use genetic-based information in the electronic health record."

About the Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine
The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai aims to refine disease risk assessment and improve responsiveness to treatments through genomic medicine and data-driven care.  

About The Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research
Founded in 2012, The Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research's mission is to improve the health and health care of underserved populations by identifying causes of disparities in health and health care; developing and testing community-partnered, sustainable interventions; and disseminating lessons learned to inform policy and systems change.

About The Institute for Family Health
The Institute for Family Health is one of the largest networks of community health centers in the country.  The Institute is committed to high-quality, affordable health care for all, regardless of ability to pay, and remains committed to primary care research that informs health policy and practice change.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Established in 1968, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Icahn School of Medicine is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty members in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Mount Sinai is one of just 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and by U.S. News & World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll.  Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org.  
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