In Our SC DNA, the first population genomics program of its kind in South Carolina, expands to boost preventive and precision healthcare | MUSK

Large-scale initiative aims to improve health outcomes and advance innovative research

CHARLESTON, SC (March 21, 2021) – The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Helix announced the next phase of their first population genomics initiative in South Carolina called In Our DNA SC. The large-scale research program is designed to improve health care outcomes by integrating genetic knowledge into clinical care and research. The statewide initiative will enroll 100,000 patients for genetic testing over the next four years at no cost to patients.

Enrollment in the In Our DNA SC program now expands to include MUSC employees and qualifying South Carolinas over the age of 18. sample collection and a new way to better understand an individual’s health risks. Participants will also have the option of having a saliva test kit sent directly to their home. Participants who test positive for any of the health risks tested will have the opportunity to meet with a genetic counselor from MUSC Health free of charge. More information about the program, including how to register, is available at

Historically, genetic testing has had many barriers to access, including cost, geographic location, and availability in healthcare settings. In Our DNA SC, with the help of MUSC’s clinical affiliates and partners, seeks to break down these barriers. Additionally, participants who consent to securely provide their genetic data will help MUSC and Helix develop one of the nation’s largest genomic resources that will be used to initiate and advance preventive care and patient research. At no time will the information be sold, shared or provided to third parties.

A critical part of advancing precision medicine is engaging more patients from historically underrepresented and vulnerable populations, a key goal of the In Our DNA SC program.

“Precision medicine is about moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to treating medical conditions. This will allow patients and providers to learn more about how their genetic ‘fingerprint’ can be understood and used to conceive. the best disease prevention and treatment plans possible,” said David J. Cole, MD, FACS, MUSC President. “We need to transform health care delivery and outcomes, especially with respect to disparities health care practices that are so prevalent in South Carolina. It is MUSC’s privilege and responsibility to lead our state toward a future that results in access to personalized medicine for all of our citizens.

The first phase of the research program focused on patients from selected MUSC clinics. The expansion will allow all qualified South Carolinas over the age of 18 to participate; being a MUSC patient is not required, and participants can have their samples collected at a number of MUSC clinics across the state, at future local community events, or through a home collection kit shipped directly to them. Both phases provide actionable information regarding a patient’s risk for certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Genetic reporting allows patients and their care providers to develop precision healthcare plans to proactively mitigate conditions and take a more preventative approach to patient care.

MUSC and Helix are in the early stages of developing a robust genomic dataset from consenting participants that will help researchers learn what can cause certain diseases, how to treat them more effectively, and potentially improve standard care for everybody. This should lay the groundwork for broader collaboration with other organizations across the healthcare spectrum.

Strategic relationship with Helix enables MUSC to leverage Helix’s unique capability Sequence once, poll often MT model and its end-to-end integration platform to enable immediate application and continuous on-demand use of genetic information throughout a patient’s lifetime. By collaborating with South Carolina’s only comprehensive academic health sciences center, Helix has the opportunity to work with thousands of providers and research staff dedicated to understanding how to provide the highest quality patient care available. to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond.

“We are delighted to be able to increase the number of participants who can join this initiative. Through similar programs, we have found that 1 in 75 people are at risk for a serious health condition, 90% of which are not discovered through traditional practice,” said James Lu, MD, Ph.D. ., CEO and co-founder of Hélix. “Large-scale population genomics initiatives like these are one of the only sustainable and scalable ways for a healthy system to effectively transition to a value-based model of care that prioritizes patient outcomes. while reducing overall costs. By expanding access, MUSC will provide essential preventive services at the point of care to all the communities it reaches.


Heather Woolwine for MUSC / MUSC Health

843-792-7669 / [email protected]

Amy Fisher Padill for Helix

612-805-5707 /[email protected]


About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the only comprehensive academic healthcare system in the state, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,000 students across six colleges – dentistry, graduate, health professions, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy – and trains more than 850 residents and fellows in its healthcare system. MUSC provided more than $327.6 million in research funding in fiscal year 2021, leading the state in overall research funding. MUSC also leads the state in funding federal and state institutes of health, with more than $220 million. For more information on academic programs, visit

As a health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to providing the highest quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of health care providers. health and exceptional leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided in 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital sites under development; more than 350 telehealth sites, with connectivity to patients’ homes; and nearly 750 healthcare locations located in all regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, US News & World Report named MUSC Health the #1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets totaling $4.4 billion. The approximately 25,000 members of the MUSC team include world-class faculty, physicians, specialist providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver and support education, cutting-edge research and patient care.

About Helix

Helix is ​​the leading population genomics company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research and genomics. Its end-to-end platform enables healthcare systems, life sciences companies and payers to advance genomics research and accelerate the integration of genomics data into clinical care. Powered by one of the world’s largest CLIA/CAP next-generation sequencing labs and the first and only FDA cleared whole exome sequencing platform, Helix supports all aspects of genomics of populations, including recruitment and engagement, screening for clinically actionable diseases, feedback of results, and baseline and translational research. In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Helix has launched a sensitive and scalable end-to-end COVID-19 testing system to meet the needs of health systems, employees, governments and other organizations across the country. Learn more at

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