To harness the potential precision medicine has to lead medicine into a new era, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has implemented the All of Us Research Program.
The program will enroll one million or more volunteers to research a wide scope of human variation across the nation. Researchers will have the opportunity to peer into the health and lifestyles of people from all ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, education levels, and disease-states, for example, to analyze associated patterns and consequences using powerful computational and statistical analysis. According to the NIH, among the scientific opportunities presented by All of Us is the ability to:
- develop ways to measure risk for a range of diseases based on environmental exposures, genetic factors and interactions between the two;
- identify sex-based differences in disease development;
- identify the causes of individual differences (including sex-based differences) in response to commonly used drugs (commonly referred to as pharmacogenomics);
- discover biological markers that signal increased or decreased risk of developing common diseases;
- use mobile health (mHealth) technologies to correlate activity, physiological measures and environmental exposures with health outcomes;
- develop new disease classifications and relationships;
- empower study participants with data and information to improve their own health; and
- create a platform to enable trials of targeted therapies.
The All of Us Research Program will partner with a multitude of entities in the healthcare sector, including private practices and hospitals, academic institutions, and non-profit researchers. The program will use these partnerships to capitalize on relevant data in research already underway, as well as enroll new participants.
A relatively new research method rolling out in this program is the collection of data through mobile applications on participants’ smart phones. The program will also provide these same functions to participants without smartphones through participant technology centers.
Anyone in the United States can voluntarily enroll in the program either through the All of Us website or a participating healthcare provider. Participant recruitment began sometime in 2017. Participants will consent to the anonymous collection of information from electronic health records, biological specimens, and mobile health data. The highly interactive researchmodel will regard participants as key partners in the development and implementation of the program with significant input into governance and oversight.
Check back soon for information about the nation’s receptiveness to participation and how this program could impact medicine in the future!
For more information: https://www.nih.gov/research-training/allofus-research-program