All About the International HundredK+ Cohorts Consortium (IHCC)
Many members of G2MC are familiar with or involved in the activities of the International HundredK+ Cohorts Consortium (IHCC). Others have likely heard the acronym but are unsure how it is tied to the G2MC organization and what its purpose is. IHCC is a program formed by G2MC to help carry out its mission of advancing genomic medicine implementation in clinical care, and many of the projects and efforts carried out by IHCC may be of interest to G2MC members. We invite you to learn more about the IHCC organization below and explore the IHCC website so all G2MC members can be familiar with IHCC and its mission.
How did IHCC come about? In 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched an effort to identify all large-scale prospective cohort studies involving at least 100,000 participants to explore the potential of bringing them together to address scientific questions none could answer alone. This effort led to the commission of the Global Genomic Medicine Collaborative (G2MC) to bring together these cohorts through the International HundredK+ Cohort Consortium (IHCC). This group gathered for the First International Cohort Summit in the USA in 2018 followed by a second Summit in Iceland in 2019. During the planning of the Third Summit to take place in Santiago, Chile, the global outbreak of COVID-19 required a transition to a virtual meeting format. Approximately 160 attendees from more than 23 countries attended the virtual Summit.
What are the goals and mission of IHCC? IHCC aims to create a global platform for translational research – cohort to bedside and cohort to bench – informing the biological and genetic basis for disease and improving clinical care and population health. Their mission is to create a global network for translational research that utilizes large cohorts to enhance the understanding of the biological and genetic basis of disease and improve clinical care and population health. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, IHCC is also examining how worldwide cohorts can be rapidly mobilized to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who are IHCC member cohorts? IHCC member cohorts aim to recruit 100k participants or more, are disease-agnostic, have available biospecimens, and have longitudinal follow-up activities. It is recognized, however, that cohorts from under-represented populations and low and middle-income countries (LMICs) may not fit some of these criteria, so exceptions are made to be inclusive as possible. View the IHCC Member Cohorts Database.
How does IHCC operate? IHCC is formed of three teams focused around data standards and interoperability, scientific strategy and cohort enhancements, and policy and bio-data sharing to address the value and challenges of combining large cohort data across borders. They are also continuously looking for novel cross-cohort scientific programs from IHCC members. To gather ideas, IHCC periodically opens Requests for Ideas (RFIs). In summer 2020, IHCC called for scientific project proposal submissions to be awarded funding through the financial contributions of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Wellcome Trust. Recipients of funding and project descriptions can be viewed here. Furthermore, IHCC is currently working with organizational partner Global Alliance for Genomics & Health (GA4GH) to implement their standards in IHCC activities.