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News and Events 

Some of the things we have been up to

November 3, 2022

INTERVENE moves forward with RCT on risk awareness effects on health behaviour 

The first of two clinical pilot programmes assessing the impact of genetic  disease risk awareness on health behaviour and decision support has now been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov. Led by Mikk Jürisson from the University of Tartu, the registered study will explore to what extent awareness of high polygenic risk for cardiovascular disese (CVD) can influence changes in health behavior among young overweight adults in Estonia.

 

Another forthcoming study, carried out in Helsinki, Turin, and Siena, will evaluate the impact of polygenic risk information for decision support and primary prevention of breast cancer.  

The Estonian study will enroll more than 1,500 overweight young adults (ages 25-44) with high either high or low genetic risk for CVD. The trial will be conducted in a primary care setting, for which the high genetic-risk subjects will be invited to visit their family physician. In the course of the first visit, the family physician will assess the participant's health status and will counsel the participant on healthy choices for increasing their level of physical activity and losing weight. If necessary, the physician will start treatment to lower the participant's blood pressure or cholesterol following current treatment guidelines. The participants in the intervention group will be informed of their high polygenic risk for CVD at the start of the study, while the control subjects at the end of the study. There will be three study visits at 6-month intervals. Between visits, the participants will receive reminders via a mobile health application to change their health behavior. At the end of the trial (month 12), the health indicators of the participants will be assessed and compared between the three trial groups. If a significant difference in BMI is found, it will presumably be related to the fact of learning of the high genetic risk, in which case the use of genetic data in primary prevention may be considered effective.

Read more about the trial here

October 25-29, 2022

Strong visibility for INTERVENE at the ASHG 2022 meeting 

The Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics is held in Los Angeles, CA on October 25-29, 2022.

We are very proud to announce that no less than four talks at the ASHG will be coming from the INTERVENE project:

  • Brooke Wolford (Norwegian University of Science and Technology): Variability in lifetime risk of 20 complex diseases across European countries and polygenic score strata in over 1 million individuals 

  • Julian Wanner (Hasso Plattner Institute): Potential clinical utility of PRS in disease prognosis. The glass is half full         

  • Bradley Jermy (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki): Testing for interaction using >1 million individuals and 20 diseases shows considerable differences in PRS estimates across age groups and sexes

  • Nina Mars (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki): Can genetic associations for disease onset be used to predict disease prognosis? The glass is half empty

In addition, Brooke has been selected as a postdoctoral finalist for the prestigious Charles J. Epstein Trainee Awards for Excellence in Human Genetics Research. We wish Brooke and the other speakers best of luck for their talks. 

Finally, the meeting will also serve as the premier for the short video feature of INTERVENE in the ASHG 2022 Thought Leadership Film Series. To check out the video, click here!

October 12-13, 2022

INTERVENE Annual Meeting 2022

Following nearly two years of Covid-19 imposed travel and meeting restrictions, INTERVENE finally convened for its first consortium-wide, in-person Annual Meeting at Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa for a two day meeting to enjoy excellent science, good food, and the magnificent splendor of Finnish Autumn. In all, approximately 60 INTERVENE members attended the meeting in person, including the INTERVENE Scientific Advisory Board Members,  Profs. Cathryn Lewis, Jacques Fellay, and Jukka Corander.

The event featured scientific presentations from across the consortium and work packages, small-group planning sessions and interactive workshops. The keynote was delivered by Saskia Sanderson, Chief Medical Scientist at Our Future Health, presenting the new UK-based national health research cohort for early detection and prevention research and approaches for returning polygenic risk scores results to study participants. We thank Saskia for her excellent talk and valuable lessons learned from the Our Future Health project.

As we departed on October 13, it was with a renewed and reinforced enthusiasm with new ideas, connections, and perspectives in our carry-on. Our warmest thanks to all speakers, participants, and organizers of this intense, productive and well-executed event. We hope to see you all soon again!

INTERVENE annual meeting group photo.JPG

All smiles at the INTERVENE Annual Meeting group photo.

September 10-12, 2022

Two Nature journal papers to start off September

Fall is here, and we are excited to announce two recent papers from the INTERVENE consortium:    

In a Nature Medicine article, Sakari Jukarainen and colleagues from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki,  ask the question to what extent genetic risk factors impact overall disease burden. The study combines genetic and disease outcome information with data on healthy life years measured by disability-adjusted life years to estimate the effect of genetic variants on the risk of developing 80 major diseases. The results show that genetic risk factors account for a sizable number of healthy life years lost, both at the individual and population level. Given that genetic risk factors seem to have a substantial impact on healthy life years, the framework will help to inform the development and implementation of genetic-based clinical applications. 

For more information, see the article Genetic risk factors have a substantial impact on healthy life years and a separate commentary by the lead authors.  

In a paper in Nature Communications, Remo Monti and colleagues from the Hasso Plattner Institute present an improved tool for genetic variant effect prediction to aid discovery and interpretation of genetic associations for rare variants. Using exome sequencing data from 200,000 individuals, the authors compare different gene-based association test across 193 significant gene-biomarker associations, and introduce a new and statistically powerful combination of tests that found 36% more associations than standard implementations. The work will facilitate discovery and interpretation of genetic associations for rare variant diseases, and facilitate the development of new and improved risk scores for INTERVENE. 

 

For more information, see Identifying interpretable gene-biomarker associations with functionally informed kernel-based tests in 190,000 exomes.

June 11-14, 2022

INTERVENE at ESHG 2022

The Annual Meeting of the European Society for Human Genetics was held in hybrid format in Vienna, Austria on June 11-14, 2022.

 

INTERVENE was strongly represented during the meeting, presenting posters and talks on ongoing work covering the application of polygenic scores for risk assessment and disease progression, as well as a new powerful approach for synthetic data generation.

Many thanks to our presenters:

  • Sophie Wharrie (Aalto University):  A fast method to generate hundreds of thousands of synthetic genomes and phenotypes (poster)

  • Brooke Wolford (Norwegian University of Science and Technology): Effect of sex and age on disease prediction with polygenic scores in INTERVENE

  • Julian Wanner (Hasso Plattner Institute): Polygenic risk scores for disease progression in clinically related events         

  • Bradley Jermy (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki): INTERVENE: exploring the generalizability of polygenic risk scores on disease

June 11, 2022

INTERVENE's Andrea Ganna awarded the 2022 Leena Peltonen Prize

We are happy and proud to announce that Andrea Ganna, FIMM-EMBL group leader and co-coordinator of INTERVENE, has received this year's Leena Peltonen prize at the ESHG annual meeting Vienna. Many congratulations, Andrea!

April 13-14, 2022

Berlin workshop

After nearly two years of COVID-imposed remote work, INTERVENE analysts finally got together for a face-to-face meeting from 13-14 April 2022 in Berlin, Germany. A group of international analysts and representatives from organisations in the project attended the two-day workshop.

February 16, 2022

A review of year 1

In early 2022, INTERVENE underwent a comprehensive scheduled evaluation by the European Commission to examine all project activities so far.

November 3, 2021

INTERVENE Annual Meeting

On November 2, 2021 we held the first INTERVENE Annual Meeting, uniting the entire INTERVENE consortium for a collegial day of discussion of performed and ongoing work, and to plan the execution of forward steps. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting was held virtually.

September 13, 2021

INTERVENE Newsletter

Check out the first newsletter from INTERVENE

June 9, 2021

Ranking the risk of heart disease

Samuli Ripatti appeared in the Nature Outlook discussing his work to identify individuals at high risk of coronary heart disease

February 9, 2021

INTERVENE featured on Genomeweb

News piece on INTERVENE on Genomeweb

January 18, 2021

INTERVENE launched!

We are all set to go! Check out the press release on the launch of INTERVENE