Bioethics Blogs

Bold Blueprint for Precision Medicine Initiative’s Research Cohort

Caption: #PMINetwork Twitter chat with @NIHDirector Francis Collins, NIH Media Branch’s @RenateMyles, and, in background, PMI Cohort Program Acting Director @NCCIH_Josie Briggs.
Credit: @KathyHudsonNIH

Readers of this blog know how excited I am about the potential of precision medicine for revolutionizing efforts to treat disease and improve human health. So, it stands to reason that I’m delighted by the positive reactions of researchers, health professionals, and the public to a much-anticipated report from the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director. Topping the report’s list of visionary recommendations? Build a national research cohort of 1 million or more Americans over the next three to four years to expand knowledge and practice of precision medicine.

When the President announced PMI during his 2015 State of the Union address, he envisioned a precise new era in medicine in which every patient receives the right treatment at the right time—an era in which health care professionals have the resources at hand to take into account individual differences in genes, environments, and lifestyles that contribute to disease. To achieve this, PMI’s national research cohort would tap into recent advances in science, technology, and research participation policies to build the knowledge base needed to develop individualized care for all diseases and conditions.

The Working Group’s report was accepted unanimously and enthusiastically by the Advisory Committee to the Director last Thursday. Based on that response, I formally accepted the recommendations and announced we would move into the implementation phase. To get a better feel for what Americans are thinking about PMI, I took part yesterday in a Twitter chat co-hosted by NIH and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.