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NIH and Wellcome Trust announce partnership to support population-based genome studies in Africa
Date:6/22/2010

LONDON, June 22, 2010 The National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in London, today announced a partnership to support population-based genetic studies in Africa of common, non-communicable disorders such as heart disease and cancer, as well as communicable diseases such as malaria. The studies, to be conducted by African researchers, will utilize genetic, clinical and epidemiologic screening tools that identify hereditary and non-hereditary components that contribute to the risk of illnesses.

Called the Human Heredity and Health in Africa project, or H3Africa, the effort will receive $5 million a year from the National Institutes of Health for five years starting in the 2011 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The National Institutes of Health also provided $750,000 in the current fiscal year to begin organizing the project. The Wellcome Trust will contribute at least $12 million (8 million) over the next five years to H3Africa, as well as administrative support, advanced training and scientific consultation. In addition, the African Society for Human Genetics will provide in-kind support, particularly organizing researchers in Africa.

"Most global health research understandably focuses on difficult infectious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. "But studies show the developing world increasingly suffers the same common chronic diseases as the West. We must take advantage of new research approaches, such as population studies employing genetic and environmental analyses, to understand both communicable and non-communicable disorders in these important parts of the world. What we learn in Africa about genetic variation and disease will have impacts across the globe."

Researchers selected for H3Africa funding will establish or enhance
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-451-8325
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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