CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his team traveled to Iceland to explore the country’s innovative medical projects. As with nearly everyone who learns of the iStopMM project, Dr. Gupta asked, “Why Iceland?” A large part of the answer relates to numbers and genetics. The population of Iceland is approximately 325,000 people, of which 120,000 are over age 40 years. By screening the 120,000 for signs of the precursor state to myeloma—monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)—the project’s researchers will learn a great deal about the 4% or so who will have MGUS. This will be over 4,000 people. Because of the close family homogeneity in Iceland over the past 1,000 years, the DNA sequencing of the entire population is known either directly or by what is called “imputation” (figuring it out from family genetic trees). There is no genetic resource like this anywhere on the planet.
click the image above to watch the full CNN interview