According to a press release, the personal genomic testing company 23andMe has entered a partnership with Pfizer to study potential genetic factors associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
“We are excited to team up with Pfizer to take an innovative, consumer-centered approach to try to understand the fundamentals of inflammatory bowel disease and the variability of treatment response,” 23andMe CEO and co-founder, Anne Wojcicki, said in a press release.
The study will include 10,000 patients who have been diagnosed with CD or ulcerative colitis by a qualified physician and who are not existing 23andme customers. Each will receive free genetic analysis, including ancestral and uninterpreted raw data, and participants will complete questionnaires. The aim of the research initiative is to better understand genetic factors which may influence the “onset, progression, severity and response to treatments” of inflammatory bowel disease. Catherine Afarian, spokesperson for 23andme, told Healio.com that the duration of the trial is unknown, as it will take an undetermined amount of time to enroll 10,000 patients with IBD.
“The research is specifically looking for genetic associations, so Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) will be conducted with the data. The hope is that we will find genetic markers associated with IBD or genetic markers that indicate when an individual may better respond to various therapies, or if they may be more likely to experience side effects, etc.,” she said in correspondence.
The news comes shortly after 23andMe announced its receipt of a $1,367,504 NIH grant for a 2-year project to enhance the company’s online database and research engine. The goal of that project is to give outside researchers access to de-identified, aggregate, summary data collected by 23andMe.