Precision Health Research, which is in charge of putting Singapore’s National Precision Medicine policy into action, has joined forces with genomics tech firm Illumina to conduct a large-scale population study on diseases affecting Asians. The SG100K project will scan and evaluate the genomes of over 100,000 consenting volunteers from Chinese, Malay, and Indian backgrounds in Singapore, representing roughly 80% of the populace in Asia. It is hoped that it will become the region’s most extensive precision medicine repository, providing great insights into Asian genetic variation and disorders.
The three-year partnership will take advantage of Illumina’s large-scale genome sequencing capabilities to create higher quality genomic data at a faster pace. The partners will also create AI methodologies for genomics analysis and leverage corporate data exchange technologies for the secure sharing and management of anonymized biospecimen datasets for sequencing.
International best practises and protections will be benchmarked against health data access, administration, and storage, said PRECISE’s chief scientific officer and principal investigator of the SG100k project, John Chambers. The project will involve a number of scientific and clinical partners, including medical schools and care clusters.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Thanks to SG100k, Singaporeans will be able to better understand critical social, ecological, behavioural, and genetic aspects connected to diseases that affect their community, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. The project will also allow data-driven strategies to improve community health and clinical outcomes to be implemented.
Furthermore, the project will aid indigenous sequencing enterprises in Singapore by providing education and training in the use of Illumina’s genomic technology platforms, allowing them to access markets both locally and internationally. Illumina has chosen NovogeneAIT Genomics Singapore, a domestic next-generation sequence service provider, to sequence the genomes of the SG100k project’s targeted participants.
THE EXPANDING TREND
Precision medicine has been examined by Singapore’s Ministry of Health as one strategy to resolving the country’s healthcare concerns. Precision medicine is also a strategic goal of Singapore’s Study, Innovations, and Enterprise 2025 agenda to change and preserve Singaporeans’ health, according to the National Research Foundation, that sponsors PRECISE.
In related news, Google Cloud has teamed up with Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research to create what might be Australia’s largest genomic data set, with the goal of processing 14,000 genomes in order to better detect uncommon genetic illnesses.
IN THE BOOKS
Together, PRECISE and Illumina will work to advance Singapore’s biomedical technology industry by developing tailor-made actionable insights, establishing a large-scale genomic information system, and fostering new career opportunities to help Singapore’s National Precision Medicine program, said Susan Tousi, Chief Commercial Officer of Illumina. She also sees the initiative as ground-breaking research which will serve as a key catalyst for expansion in precision medicine skills across Southeast Asia.
PRECISE Executive Director Patrick Tan added that the company’s collaboration with Illumina is a testament to their shared ambitions and common vision to improve health care and future-proof Singapore’s public health through the adoption of genomics and data-driven strategies in diseases relevant to Asia.