Category Archives: Clinical genetics

The Clinical Genome Conference 2015 Highlights

         June 30, 2015

This last week I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Clinical Genome Conference (TCGC) in Japantown, San Francisco and kicking off the conference by teaching a short course on Personal Genomics Variant Analysis and Interpretation. Some highlights of the conference from my perspective: Talking about clinical genomics is no longer a wonder-fest of individual case studies, but a… Read more »

Partnership with MedGenome

         June 17, 2015

Just a few weeks ago we announced our partnership with MedGenome. The news was covered by a number of outlets including: Financial Express Pharmabiz Let me expIain the importance and impact of this announcement. Since Varseq was released, we have received strong interest from testing labs that are leveraging our product to implement cancer diagnostic pipelines. Please feel free to take… Read more »

Baby Genes is raising the bar for Newborn Screening

         May 28, 2015

Today we wanted to share a recent client case study to demonstrate how VarSeq has been implemented in a CLIA certified clinical laboratory. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or if you would like to discuss VarSeq further at It is standard practice for newborns to be screened for genetic diseases before leaving the hospital to… Read more »

What’s in a Name: The Intricacies of Identifying Variants

         May 26, 2015

There’s a strong desire in the genetics community for a set of canonical transcripts. It’s a completely understandable and reasonable thing to want since it would simplify many aspects of analysis and especially the downstream communicating and reporting of variants. Unfortunately, biology isn’t so tidy as to provide a clear answer for which transcript is the important one. Consequently, there… Read more »

Precision Medicine – Part VII – Regulatory Issues

         May 21, 2015
Regulatory Issues

Regulatory Issues Regulatory bodies such as the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) already have a full plate. In the US, FDA-regulated products account for 20 percent of each dollar spent by American consumers each year. More specifically, the work of the regulatory authorities include the following: Carefully considering benefits and risks when evaluating medical products Staying on top of rapidly advancing scientific innovations… Read more »

Precision Medicine – Part VI – The Educational Challenge

         May 14, 2015
Educational Challenge

The Educational Challenge Precision medicine will fundamentally change how health care is practiced. Of course, we have a long way to go. For most practitioners today, their knowledge of the human genome was established many years ago. However, new therapies and diagnostic methods are pouring in on a daily basis. So, how do we make sure that the current and… Read more »

Precision Medicine – Part V – Bioinformatics Pipelines and Systems Infrastructure

         May 7, 2015

Bioinformatics Pipelines and Systems Infrastructure The genetics industry is undergoing a fundamental shift from a clinical science focus to a bioinformatics focus. Genetic services require a greater level of data analytics sophistication than is required for other laboratory testing. Currently, data generated by new tests overwhelms current information technology systems and human interpretation capabilities. This is one of the reasons… Read more »

Precision Medicine – Part IV – Adoption by Patients and Health Care Professionals

         April 30, 2015

Adoption by Patients and Health Care Professionals Precision Medicine leverages the most innovative technology advances in the field of genetics. The concept is “en vouge”! We know that the science will give us increasingly better treatment options. I have covered this in my previous blog post. But does it really matter? Precision medicine only will become a reality if both… Read more »

Precision Medicine – Part III – Tailoring diagnostic and therapeutic strategies

         April 23, 2015
therapeutic strategies

Tailoring diagnostic and therapeutic strategies Many have called Sir William Osler (1849-1910) the “Father of Modern Medicine”. He was one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital where he was instrumental in creating the first residency program for the specialty training of physicians. He brought medical students from the classroom to the bedside for clinical training. He shared… Read more »

Precision Medicine Part II – Reimbursement and Cost

         April 14, 2015

Reimbursement and Cost – Precision Medicine Part II The promise of Precision Medicine is to leverage highly targeted therapies for the benefit of the patient. By understanding better what makes us unique and leveraging our genetic make up, we hope to improve the outcome for the individual. Now, this blog is focusing on one issue that we collectively have to… Read more »

Unique Labs, Common Tool: Making VarSeq Ready for Clinical Workflows

         April 9, 2015

As VarSeq has been evaluated and chosen by more and more clinical labs, I have come to respect how unique each lab’s analytical use cases are. Different labs may specialize in cancer therapy management, specific hereditary disorders, focused gene panels or whole exomes. Some may expect to spend just minutes validating the analytics and the presence or absence of well-characterized… Read more »

Precision Medicine – Part I

         April 7, 2015

Precision Medicine Initiative On January 30, 2015, the Precision Medicine Initiative was announced by President Obama. Many in our field, researchers and clinicians alike, recognize that such a program would bring additional funding into our space to design, develop and implement new diagnostic tests that are aiding physicians in their practice of precision medicine. Here is what we know. Led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH),… Read more »

Question and Answers: Cancer Gene Panels Webcast

         March 17, 2015

Last week we conducted a webcast on “Cancer Gene Panels”; you can find the recording here. We had some excellent questions which we answered during the webcast and a few more that we didn’t get to in the allotted time. Please find answers to those questions here: 1. Are Cancer Gene Panels just another stepping stone on the way to… Read more »

Analyzing a Unique Family Structure in VarSeq 1.1.1

         March 12, 2015

I am constantly on the lookout for fun or interesting datasets to analyze in SVS or VarSeq and recently came across a study looking into inherited cardiac conduction disease in an extended family (Lai et al. 2013). The researchers sequenced the exomes from five family members including three affected siblings and their unaffected mother and an unaffected child of one… Read more »

Introducing Phenotype Gene Ranking in VarSeq

         March 3, 2015

Personal genome sequencing is rapidly changing the landscape of clinical genetics. With this development also comes a new set of challenges. For example, every sequenced exome presents the clinical geneticist with thousands of variants. The job at hand is to find out which one might be responsible for the person’s illness. In order to reduce the search space, clinicians use various methods… Read more »

PreventionGenetics to Use GoldenHelix’s VarSeq for Dx Test Offering

         February 9, 2015

Today, we at Golden Helix announced our collaboration with PreventionGenetics as they prepare to implement the VarSeq software into their exome sequencing pipeline. The VarSeq software will allow PreventionGenetics to offer an exome test by dramatically speeding up the analysis process. VarSeq will narrow down sequence data into gene(s) of interest based on inheritance patterns, facilitating the identification of clinically relevant… Read more »

Genetic Testing for Cancer

         January 20, 2015

In 1914 the German cytologist Theodor Boveri coined the phrase “Cancer is a disease of the genome”. At this time his ideas were equally revolutionary as they were highly contested. Fast forward. More than hundred years later, Next-Generation Sequencing effectively permits a highly sensitive analysis of cancer cells. It can help us to understand mutations associated with cancer development and… Read more »

Dr. Andreas Scherer to speak at ITI 2015

         January 15, 2015

The Integrative Therapies Institute is soon hosting the annual, ITI 2015 conference January 23rd through the 25th in sunny San Diego and our own Dr. Andreas Scherer has been invited to speak. Some of the most prominent genomic and integrative medicine specialists will gather at ITI 2015 to share case studies and protocols with the community. Attendees can expect to… Read more »

In Pursuit of Longevity: Analyzing the Supercentenarian Whole Genomes with VarSeq

         January 13, 2015

If you haven’t been closely watching the twittersphere or other headline sources of the genetics community, you may have missed the recent chatter about the whole genome sequencing of 17 supercentenarians (people who live beyond 110 years). While genetics only explains 20-30% of the longevity of those with average life-spans, it turns out there is a number of good reasons… Read more »

6 Population Catalogs Compared with the ExAC 61,486 Exomes

         November 13, 2014

To say the announcement of Dan MacArthur’s group’s release of the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) data was highly anticipated at ASHG 2014 would be an understatement. Basically, there were two types of talks at ASHG. Those that proceeded the official ExAC release talk and referred to it, and those that followed the talk and referred to it. Why is this… Read more »