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Precision Medicine News

NIH Renames Precision Medicine Cohort, Urges Patient Engagement

The NIH has renamed the Precision Medicine Cohort to the All of Us Research Program, bringing new opportunities for patient involvement in precision medicine.

NIH renames precision medicine cohort

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- The newly unveiled All of Us Research Program, formally known as the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort, will help the NIH collect diverse patient data and foster patient engagement to support its million-member precision medicine biobank.  

A $5 million grant opportunity will help community organizations and healthcare providers to enroll patients with a variety of ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic circumstances in order to gather a rich and accurate portrait of American patients.

"Researchers will use data from the program to learn more about how individual differences in lifestyle, environment and biological make-up can influence health and disease," the NIH announced in a press release. "By taking part, people will be able to learn more about their own health and contribute to an effort that will advance the health of generations to come. NIH plans to launch the program later this year."

The All of Us program will emphasize the collection of diverse patient samples while involving participants in a transparent and collaborative research environment.

“We want the All of Us community to be as diverse as our country, so that the knowledge we gain from the research will benefit everyone — including groups that haven’t been well represented in biomedical research before,” said Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program at NIH. “Many organizations have expressed interest in working with us to spread the word. This opportunity will support grassroots efforts across the countries, which are critical to the program’s success.”

Adults and children who live in the United States will be able to participate in the All of Us program. Participants will have to consent to share their electronic health records along with blood and urine samples. Participants will also receive information from research projects that use their data.

Along with building a diverse participant pool, the All of Us program will act as a broad resource for investigators researching cancer, chronic diseases, and other conditions.  

A network of healthcare provider organizations (HPOs), including national medical centers, community health providers, and VA hospitals, will collect health data and biosamples from participants.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota will shoulder the responsibility of developing the biobank to store, collect, and analyze specimens.  

The All of Us program provides an extensive, long-term plan for capturing patient data and using it to provide a foundation for precision medicine therapies and techniques. The All of Us program plans to greatly increase the amount patient data through strong community support.

“No one has tried to build a research community before that includes this many people from so many different walks of life, and we’re excited to try out new approaches, learning and making improvements as we go,” said Stephanie Devaney, PhD, deputy director of All of Us. “Our plan is to start small and build a national network of partners over time, all energized by the prospect of making real improvements to health over the long term.”

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