The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will receive a $7.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of an initiative targeting the most difficult-to-solve medical cases and looking for ways of diagnosing rare genetic disorders.
The four-year grant is part of a $120 million NIH called the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, which is designed to support doctors’ efforts to find answers for patients living with mystery ailments.
“Undiagnosed diseases take a huge toll on patients, their families and the health care system,” according to Dr. Katrina Dipple, a co-principal investigator of the grant. “This funding will accelerate and expand our clinical genomics program, enabling us to quickly give patients a firm diagnosis and clarify the best way to treat them.”
As part of the program, patients will undergo an intensive weeklong clinical assessment, including genome sequencing to identify genetic mutations, according to UCLA. Officials noted that some diseases remain unrecognized because they are rare, under-reported or atypical forms of more common diseases.
“A vast number of children and adults suffer from severe, often fatal undiagnosed disorders,” said Dr. Eric Vilain. “This program will enable us to discover new genes causing ultra-rare medical conditions and to identify environmental factors that lead to disease or interact with genes to cause disease.”