Birth… the beginning of a family’s story.

But for families of babies born with a rare genetic disease, the story is one fraught with challenges on their journey to an accurate diagnosis and appropriate care.

Imagine if we could change the narrative for those families from the very start.

Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is helping to rewrite the story for infants with rare diseases through BeginNGSTM

BeginNGS is a novel health care delivery system designed to screen newborns for genetic diseases — and connect their doctors with effective treatment options.

Genetic diseases are chronic, progressive, and can be life-threatening. 

They may not appear until later in childhood; however, the effects may begin before symptoms manifest. The effects may be irreversible if not diagnosed and treated.

Sometimes the solution is as simple as a vitamin supplement.

Other times, the baby can receive cutting-edge gene therapy and grow up to be a typical healthy child, like Fitz Kettler, pictured here.

Fitz runs towards the camera

With BeginNGS, the combination of newborn rWGS® and a new treatment guidance system — Genome-to-Treatment (GTRxTM)helps ensure each baby is screened for treatable genetic conditions, and helps physicians provide effective treatment in a timely manner.

What is BeginNGS?

BeginNGS is an RCIGM-led pilot that uses rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) as a screening tool for newborns, to identify genetic conditions before infants get sick. The BeginNGS pilot is not about replacing the current biochemical newborn screening approach (for roughly 60 known conditions) – rather, it is a complement to the newborn screening processes and infrastructure that are already in place.

Technological advances in rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) have made it possible to return test results in just a few days at a lower cost.

As our understanding of genetic diseases grows, and the pace of therapeutic innovation accelerates, newborn screening by rWGS may provide a more dynamic way of expanding the number of conditions as new treatments are approved.

Since the whole genome is sequenced, the screening can be rapidly expanded to include new disorders as effective treatments become available.

magnifying glass over a DNA helix

Screening

Screening newborns for ~400 genetic diseases with known treatment options using rWGS

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Diagnostic Report

Diagnosing rare disease earlier to facilitate access to Rapid Precision Medicine™

Rapid Treatment

Employing Genome-to- Treatment (GTRx) to provide immediate treatment guidelines to clinicians

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Stephen Kingsmore
Rylee

By rewriting the beginning, we can help families end their diagnostic and therapeutic odysseys so they can fill their stories with hope.

— Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc
President & CEO, Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine

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Rylee
Rylee

Early diagnosis of rare disease patients will open the door to ongoing monitoring of symptoms and gathering of critical natural history data

— Charlene Son Rigby
CEO, Rare-X

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Why Now?

There are over 30 million rare disease patients in the United States and over 5,000 rare disease clinical trials underway. Ending the diagnostic and therapeutic odyssey is finally within our grasp. Without disruptive progress, precision medicine at scale isn’t possible. BeginNGS will help us identify rare disease patients earlier, increase clinical trial enrollment and rapidly progress rare disease treatment.

Join Us

Interested in partnering with us or learning more about the project?

How It Will Work

  • This pilot includes birthing hospitals throughout the U.S. and abroad.

  • Blood-spot samples will be collected at the time of birth and sent to the lab where WGS will be performed.

  • Genomic analysis and interpretation will be performed for ~400 early onset actionable genetic conditions.

  • When a positive screening result is detected, a confirmatory diagnostic test will be completed before a result is returned to the ordering physician.

  • Additionally, physicians will be provided with guidance on appropriate medical management, including all available treatments.

Ready to Learn More?

Upcoming BeginNGS Presentations & Events

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Related Publications

A genome sequencing system for universal newborn screening, diagnosis, and precision medicine for severe genetic diseases

Am J Hum Genet. 2022 Aug 18:S0002-9297(22)00355-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2022.08.003. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Newborn screening (NBS) dramatically improves outcomes in severe childhood disorders by treatment before symptom onset. In many genetic diseases, however, outcomes remain poor because NBS has lagged behind drug development. Rapid whole-genome sequencing (rWGS) is attractive for comprehensive NBS because it concomitantly examines almost all genetic diseases and is gaining acceptance for genetic disease diagnosis in ill newborns. We describe prototypic methods for scalable, parentally consented, feedback-informed NBS and diagnosis of genetic diseases by rWGS and virtual, acute management guidance (NBS-rWGS). Using established criteria and the

An automated 13.5 hour system for scalable diagnosis and acute management guidance for genetic diseases

Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 26;13(1):4057. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31446-6. While many genetic diseases have effective treatments, they frequently progress rapidly to severe morbidity or mortality if those treatments are not implemented immediately. Since front-line physicians frequently lack familiarity with these diseases, timely molecular diagnosis may not improve outcomes. Herein we describe Genome-to-Treatment, an automated, virtual system for genetic disease diagnosis and acute management guidance. Diagnosis is achieved in 13.5 h by expedited whole genome sequencing, with superior analytic performance for structural and copy number variants. An expert panel adjudicated the indications, contraindications, efficacy, and evidence-of-efficacy of 9911 drug, device, dietary, and surgical interventions

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