Citizen Science: Why everyone should care about the Precision Medicine Initiative

Marco Island, FL (February 26, 2015) – Speaking today at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology Conference (AGBT) in Marco Island, FL, Eric Green, MD, PhD, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) said, “The notion of citizen science, or the inclusion of everyday Americans in research about their health and healthcare, is one of the driving forces behind the recently announced U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative.”

Green emphasized the inclusive nature of the initiative, which will potentially include enlisting millions of people. He talked about the potential of crowd-sourcing insights from social media and highlighted the need for transparency as the initiative moves forward. He called the Precision Medicine Initiative “historic.”

The initiative aims to pioneer a new model of participant-empowered research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for each patient.

Green said, “One size doesn’t fit all. Treatments that might work in one person, might not work in another.”

The key is finding which therapies best respond to an individual’s specific circumstance, including their genomic makeup and lifestyle.

Precision medicine is starting to generate success stories, but much research and discovery remains. While some targeted therapies work for certain cancers, the goal is to expand the use of more precise treatments to a wide variety of diseases.

Green said, in the near term, the emphasis will be on cancer as a model of precision medicine, but in the longer term, it will expand to other diseases including Alzheimer’s, autism, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes, to name just a few.

The President has asked for an initial $215 million in Fiscal Year 2016 to launch the program.  Green said there is growing bi-partisan support for this initiative.

 

To request further information, please contact:
Leisa Zigman, President, The Genome Partnership
314-615-6360
leisaz@agbt.org

 

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