The Healthy Nevada Project has emerged as the fastest-growing, community-based population health study in the world. Sponsored by Renown Health, the study offers local residents no-cost DNA testing to improve health literacy, empower patients with actionable personal health data, and advance medical research that will ultimately save lives in Nevada.
Reported by the Las Vegas Sun, the study launched in 2016 in Reno.
Initially launched in 2016 in Reno, Renown Health and DRI sought to offer 5,000 people the option to have a free DNA test. The response was so favorable that Renown and DRI opened another 5,000 testing spots.
Expansion in Nevada
By March 2018, Renown and DRI launched Phase II of the project, affording another 40,000 the opportunity to participate; additionally, they inked a partnership with Helix, one of the largest accredited sequencing labs in the nation. Moreover, the geographical reach extended out of Reno and into Carson City, Elko, Tonopah, Winnemucca, Lovelock, Silver Springs, and more.
The study offers free testing to residents of Las Vegas and Clark County with an additional 25,000 slots available for interested participants. Las Vegas/Clark County is the most populous region in Nevada. Moreover, UMC has offered three testing facilities across the Las Vegas valley where participants can receive genetic testing at no cost via urgent care clinics at Blue Diamond, Centennial Hills, and Rancho, reports the Las Vegas Sun.
Once the patient’s tube of saliva is collected, the DNA is analyzed by Helix, which uses a proprietary method to sequence the part of our genome that codes for the proteins that tell our bodies how to function. Once the saliva is tested, the sponsors ensure that the patients have access where they can learn more about their health—it can cover everything from how they interact with coffee consumption; body mass index; saturated fat; calcium levels; and their ability to handle lactose and gluten. Other information, such as regional ancestry, is also made available.
DRI, the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education, launches a population health research team; they review de-identified patient information, scanning for Centers for Disease Control’s Tier 1 genetic conditions, reports the Las Vegas Sun.
Higher Risk Findings
Those patients that have genetic markers for higher risk of developing serious illness (heart disease, cancers, etc.) can take their results to begin preventative care with their primary care provider. Tier 1 genetic conditions include familial hypercholesterolemia, BRCA 1 & 2 (related to breast cancer), and Lynch Syndrome, etc.
Renown Health: The Sponsor
Led by Renown Health, which is northern Nevada’s healthcare leader and Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health system. They are an entire network of Reno hospitals, urgent care centers, lab services, x-ray and imaging services, primary care doctors, and dozens of medical specialties.
Clinical Trials at Renown Health
Biopharma Sponsor Partnerships: The Gilead Deal
Back in April 2019, Renown and Gilead partnered to study NASH. TrialSite News covered this deal, where Renown’s Institute for Health Innovation teamed up with Gilead to study nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Gilead is funding Renown IHI’s efforts to sequence and analyze the DNA of 15,000 people who have been diagnosed with NASH or NAFLD, in addition to a control group of 40,000 Nevada residents. A path-breaking study that will undoubtedly offer Gilead valuable insights.
Renown Health Institute for Health Innovation
Renown has partnered with The Applied Innovation Center at the Desert Research Institute and the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development to combine complimentary players in analytics, informatics, microbiome, and data visualization to improve the delivery of community health care to Northern Nevada’s patient population.
Who is the Desert Research Institute?
The genesis of this organization occurred in 1959 when the Nevada State Legislature passed NRS396.7951, creating a division of the University of Nevada specifically devoted to conducting research. This small group led to a flourishing group of farsighted researchers, academics, and entrepreneurs who created Desert Research Institute, a unique organization that combined the classic academic tradition of the high-quality basic research with the productive focus of applied interdisciplinary research. Leadership includes Dr. Kumud Acharya, Officer in Charge and Interim Vice President.
Call to Action: Are you interested in exploring a partnership with Renown Health or the Desert Research Institute? We include contact information in the links; feel free to contact TrialSite News for a brokered introduction.