Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

The Town's New Project

After the mill in a town in North Carolina closed, many of the people there lost their jobs. Now, Amanda Wilson at Pacific Standard writes, they are contributing to a biobank at the public-private research institute that opened up where the mill once stood.

The institute was founded by Los Angeles billionaire David Murdock, who has an interest in longevity research, and Wilson says its "most ambitious and prominent" study is a longitudinal study being conducted in coordination with Duke University's Translational Medicine Institute that is collecting blood and urine samples, family medical histories, and electronic health records from 50,000 people.

All that, she adds, is aimed at developing predictive tests, diagnostics, and treatments to enable personalized medicine.

When people are enrolled, Wilson writes, they provide informed consent and are told that they will not receive personal data or benefit themselves from the study or resulting products, through they do receive a gift card to WalMart. "Many Kannapolites will tell you, however, that they're not participating for the gift card," she adds. Residents instead say they are participating in the hopes that it'll benefit future generations or the institute and, eventually, the town.