Vanderbilt University Crowned As Leader Of Precision Medicine
This summer the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) was chosen to be the Data and Research Support Center for the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, a landmark study of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors affecting the health of a millions of people.
“We are honored to be selected to play a foundational role in a program that promises to drive innovation in precision medicine for decades to come.” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC, and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Cemented as the Medical Center’s largest research grant ever received from any source, The NIH will grant $71.6 million into VUMC to establish and operate the center.
“The more we understand about individual differences, the better able we will be to effectively prevent and treat illness,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in a news release.
Approximately $55 million in fiscal 2016 from the NIH has been supporting the PMI Cohort Program which is expected to begin enrollment of volunteer participants this fall and aims to meet its enrollment goal by 2020.
Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., associate professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine is expected to direct The Data and Research Support Center. Denny also serves as co-chair of the PMI Cohort Program Steering and Executive Committees.
“Precision medicine transcends any particular clinical specialty, any disease, and any one patient type. There is a very real human need for better precision medicine tools and approaches,” Denny said.
The center will provide research support and analysis tools to the scientists who will be mining it on a scale of expansive proportion..
“This is truly an exciting next step forward for both medical science and discovery research. This program illustrates how our robust, creative basic research plays a critical role in laying the foundation for precision medicine,” said Susan Wente, Ph.D., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for Vanderbilt University.
The PMI Cohort Program requires operational partnerships including a national network of Healthcare Provider Organizations (HPOs), Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.
Direct enrollment will be handled by The Participant Technologies Center, who will also oversee the development of mobile health technologies including apps that participants will use to record, and report in real time, their environmental exposures data and record lifestyle.
A Biobank will oversee the collection, storage and analyses of blood and urine samples for crucial genomic and other biological information, which is being built by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“I am proud of the strategic vision our faculty have embraced in translating discoveries into national and global impact.” added Denny.
Also included in the group of collaborators are Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and the University of Texas School of Bioinformatics in Houston.