Many medical treatments are designed with the perspective that "one size fits all" - or that what works for one patient will work for another. Medical therapies and medications are often created to be applied to the "average" patient, without taking into account a patient's unique lifestyle, genetic background, or environment. The Precision Medicine Initiative is a research effort that aims to change the way we treat diseases - by recognizing that an individual's behavior, biology, and environment play a critical role in determining health outcomes.
Launched by President Obama as part of his 2016 Budget, the Precision Medicine Initiative would advance healthcare by creating treatments that are tailored to the specific patient. When therapies are more precise, side effects and adverse reactions are reduced - while the likelihood of a treatment being successful increases.
As part of this project, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will create a research cohort (group of participants) of a million or more volunteers to help improve our understanding of health and disease. Participants will be involved in the design of the Initiative and will have the chance to contribute their data. NIH recently invited the public to comment on part of this work. Individuals agreeing to be part of the national participant group would share their genetic data, biological samples, and diet/lifestyle information, which could be linked to their electronic health records. If you are interested in telling the NIH what you think about the project, click here!
Learn more about the Precision Medicine Initiative: