Biotechnology firm Illumina is to provide The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with automated technology to identify the genes responsible for common childhood diseases.
Under terms of the agreement, which is expected to exceed $25 million, the Hospital’s new Center for Applied Genomics will house an Illumina system designed to detect gene variations and link them to particular illnesses.
To accomplish the large-scale genotyping analysis, the Center for Applied Genomics at Children’s Hospital will use the ‘BeadLab’, a highly automated laboratory that will be able to process 264 patient samples per day and simultaneously analyze over 550,000 genetic variants for each sample. Developed by San Diego-based Illumina, the genotyping BeadLab will be installed and fully operational at Children’s Hospital by the end of June 2006.
Once the BeadLab is installed here, we will have one of the largest genotyping projects in the world, said Dr Hakonarson. The equipment will be capable of producing approximately 150 million genotypes per day, all extracted from blood samples.
The Center plans to analyze blood samples from over 100,000 children over the next three years. Patients from the Children’s Hospital network will be asked to contribute blood samples. For those who agree, Illumina’s information management system will track the samples and store medical records information in an encrypted form to preserve patient confidentiality.
Our sample size will be large enough to provide great statistical power to our research, added Dr Hakonarson. We will be able to characterize genotypes and health conditions over a sizable population of children. This project will help to set the standard for identifying biological links to childhood diseases.