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Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Thursday, January 30, 2020 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 2:26 PM - Wednesday, January 29, 2020 2:26 PM

Shriners Hospitals for Children and The Jackson Laboratory announce affiliation to further genetics research

Imagine a child facing life with a long-term complex orthopaedic condition. Now imagine having the ability, through genetics research, to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem, and treat it accordingly and immediately, easing or ending the potential for a lifetime of medical care and personal struggle.

The availability of individual genetic data can lead to identification of disease-related variations, or gene alterations, which can further lead to better ways to diagnose and treat a condition, and lessen its impact on a child. This research can bring hope to countless children the world over – opening the door for a life full of promise and possibilities.

This genetics-based approach to medical care, known as precision medicine, is more than a hope, or a dream. It is becoming a reality, and one day will even be the norm. With the establishment of its Genomics Institute in Tampa, Florida, Shriners Hospitals for Children has taken a major step toward this goal of understanding the specific – and individual – genetic causes of orthopaedic conditions and disabilities such as clubfoot, scoliosis and osteogenesis imperfecta.

Through sophisticated, next-generation sequencing of DNA samples from our patient population, Shriners Hospitals hopes to gain the understanding needed to create more targeted, efficient and personalized treatments and therapies.

Shriners Hospitals for Children and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution, have entered into a research affiliation agreement for this project. Investigators at JAX will provide expertise on genomic data analysis tools, specialized knowledge bases and algorithms, and will create research models to validate new discoveries and potential treatments for the targeted conditions.

“We are excited to collaborate with the world-renowned Jackson Laboratory to advance precision medicine and specialized pediatric care for the more than 100,000 patients we treat every year,” said Marc Lalande, Ph.D., vice president of research programs, Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Shriners Hospitals is proud to be at the forefront of this next major step toward bringing new hope and healing to children and families the world over.

“Harnessing the power of genomics to understand the basis for orthopaedic and other pediatric diseases is of the utmost importance,” said Charles Lee, Ph.D., FACMG, scientific director and professor, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. “This research can bring hope to countless families, and we’re looking forward to working with Shriners Hospitals to help children around the world.”

About The Jackson Laboratory

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution with more than 2,200 employees. Headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine, it has a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, a genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn., and facilities in Ellsworth, Maine, Sacramento, Calif., and Shanghai, China. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health. For more information, please visit