Launched Finnish study first of its type

A research project that will match genome information with 500,000 blood samples has been launched in Finland, the first of its type on such a scale.

The FinnGen study will match genetic information with blood samples from the country’s vast network of biobanks with the intention of understanding more about disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The project is being co-ordinated by researchers from the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital and is expected to last for six years.

In addition to the biobanks and other research organisations; Finnish Funding Agency TEKES, seven international pharmaceutical companies and nine Finnish enterprises will make up the research consortium.

The project will be funded in part by TEKES, who will contribute one third of the €59m budget, with the remaining amount put-forward by the involved pharmaceutical firms; Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Celgene, Genentech, Roche Group, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA and Pfizer.

FinnGenn’s Research Director Aarno Palotie (pictured), from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helskinki thinks the study’s impact can go beyond Finnish shores. “All breakthroughs that arise from the project will eventually benefit health care systems and patients both locally and globally,” he said. “The study will, for instance, help us find new areas for drug discovery and ways to prevent disease.”

Aarno Palotie will be speaking at the Nordic Precision Medicine Forum in March 2018. You can register for the event here where you can still take advantage of a ‘early-bird’ discount.