Groundbreaking Health Initiative Spearheaded by NDRI to Unleash New Possibilities for Genetic Research

National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The exploration of genetic variation has never been more intriguing and forthright than today, thanks to an exciting initiative set forth by the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI). The organization recently revealed its recovery network for the Somatic Mosaicism across Human Tissues (SMaHT) Tissue Procurement Center. This significant NIH Common Fund initiative is poised to offer the first comprehensive public resource for scrutinizing genetic variation due to somatic mosaicism across various developmental layers in the human body.

NDRI, joining forces with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, has been designated as the Tissue Procurement Center for the SMaHT Network. With a generous five-year, $14.4M award from the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health, the TPC’s mission will revolve around providing tissue samples for detailed analysis.

Innovative organization LifeGift is thrilled to be an integral part of the SMaHT initiative, aligning with its mission to propel medical advancement through the recovery of organs and tissues for clinical research. Kevin Myer, CEO of LifeGift, expresses readiness to play a crucial role in this groundbreaking project and continue to impact lives through medical innovation.

Further supporting the SMaHT initiative’s advancement, NDRI aligns with organ procurement organizations (OPO) like ConnectLife and the Gift of Life Donor Program. These collaborations will make strides in screening and identifying eligible donors across diverse service areas, aligning with the objectives of SMaHT.

Dr. Kathryn Leonard, PhD, who formerly served as a project manager at the American Association for Cancer Research, will oversee the SMaHT TPC’s efforts. Dr. Leonard will manage the OPO network and cultivate the SMaHT biorepository, contributing her experience in skin cancer research to this promising endeavor.

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These partnerships and Dr. Leonard’s appointment mark an unparalleled stride for the SMaHT Network. These OPO partners will not only offer invaluable human specimens for the network to investigate the impact of somatic mosaicism on disease, but they will also provide diverse perspectives regarding tissue donation for genetic studies.

The Gift of Life Donor Program, which has a 50-year history of supporting medical research and scientific discovery, is poised to continue to offer opportunities for donor families to create a lasting legacy through pivotal research efforts.

By understanding the nuances of gene variation, the healthcare sector stands poised to benefit from the identification of new treatments and cures for a multitude of diseases. The collective efforts of NDRI, its collaborators, and the SMaHT Network represent a significant stride in the advancement of genetic research.

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