July 15, 2016 – U-M to help White House, NIH advance precision medicine
A national Precision Medicine Initiative announced in January 2015 by President Barack Obama and funded last week by the National Institutes of Health, dedicates $55 million to create four program areas: a Data and Research Support Center, Participant Technologies Centers, a Healthcare Provider Organizations network, and a Biobank.
The U-M School of Public Health was named one of four sub-awardees that will work with the Data and Research Support Center at Vanderbilt University to mine and organize data, and create the tools to analyze it, while protecting those who share it.
The nationwide goal is to obtain the DNA and relevant health information from one million people.
At present, a few major academic medical centers, including U-M, gather this information from patients who consent to share it for research. Michigan currently has a bank of information from about 35,000 people collected through its Michigan Genomics Initiative, which asks patients in the U-M Health System to provide data on their health. Part of the national plan is to get more institutions to follow suit.
“The goal is to make sure scientists can ask questions about the role of particular genes,” said Goncalo Abecasis, the Felix E. Moore Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics and director of the Biostatistics Department in the School of Public Health. “We are going to create tools to make it easy for them to ask those questions and get answers from the data, while keeping patient records safe.”