The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with the Institute for Family Health to launch the first-ever genetic testing program in the primary care setting to identify genetic risk for kidney disease in patients with hypertension.

The program will be funded through a $3.7 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Primary-care providers will use patients’ genomic information at the point-of-care to individualize treatment, testing and monitoring with Mount Sinai’s Clinical Implementation of Personalized Medicine through Electronic Health Records and Genomic Program, or CLIPMERGE, a novel clinical-decision support engine for delivering guidelines with genetic variants of clinical significance to enhance treatment.

Recent research has shown that one in eight African Americans have two copies of a version of the APOL1 gene, putting them at four to five times greater risk for developing chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease if they have hypertension, or high blood pressure.

“Many patients do not have their blood pressure adequately controlled,” said Erwin Bottinger, MD, Director of the Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and one of two principal investigators of the grant. “We believe that with genomic information made available to doctors through a patient’s electronic health record, we will be able to achieve better and stricter control of blood pressure and targeted use of medications that inhibit the renin angiotensin system, which are recommended in hypertensive patients at risk for kidney disease. More comprehensive tracking will also help ensure that optimal tests will be performed to stop progression of kidney disease.”

A cluster-randomized controlled trial will be conducted at 12 primary care sites in New York, including practices at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Institute for Family Health, which operates an independent network of community health centers in Manhattan and the Bronx.