February 25, 2016

VUMC to Lead Pilot Program for Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program

President Obama and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins announced today that Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) will lead the Direct Volunteers Pilot Studies under the first grant to be awarded in the federal Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program.
The Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program’s objective is to build a broad and diverse national research cohort of 1 million or more U.S. volunteers whose participation will provide the platform for expanding approaches to precision medicine that will benefit the nation and medical science for decades to come.
The team of researchers involved with the Direct Volunteers Pilot Studies, whose objective is to create a prototype set of technologies and experiments that will inform the successful approach for such a large research cohort, also includes experts from Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) as well as the University of Michigan, the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., is principal investigator for the effort, which is supported by a one-year grant from the PMI Cohort Program (NIH Award #1-OT2-OD-023132).  He served on the national PMI Working Group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director.  The report from the PMI Working Group can be found here.
Precision medicine uses advanced approaches to data collection and analysis that rapidly assimilate unprecedented amounts of individuals’ personal health data, as well as behavioral and environmental data. This information, when combined with genetic and other molecular data, will provide a broad platform that can be used extensively for discoveries that will help advance the science of preventive care, as well as new treatments and potentially cures for diseases. The goal of precision medicine is to match individuals with treatments and preventive strategies that are most likely to work for them.
As part of the Direct Volunteers Pilot Studies, VUMC will create and optimize a prototype informational website that is engaging to a diverse array of potential volunteers, and develop an interface for obtaining consent and basic enrollment and health information that is efficient, effective and secure.
Vanderbilt researchers involved with the Direct Volunteers Pilot Studies also include Paul Harris, Ph.D., director of the Office of Research Informatics; Consuelo Wilkins, M.D., director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance; and Sunil Kripalani, M.D., director of Vanderbilt’s Effective Health Communication Program. Bradley Malin, Ph.D., founder and director of Vanderbilt’s Health Information Privacy Laboratory, will help construct platforms that protect the privacy of cohort participants. Jill Pulley, MBA, director of Research Support Services in the Office of Research, will oversee program architecture and organization.

Vanderbilt University press release

Video of the Precision Medicine Initiative summit

​More about the White House's Precision Medicine Inititiative

New York Times