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NIH Names Panel to Lead Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health today announced a panel of experts that will steer President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative. 

The $215 million initiative seeks to leverage genomics, informatics, and health information technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries and enable personalized medicine approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Of the $215 million in funding that Obama seeks in his FY 2016 budget, $130 million would go toward creating a national research cohort of about 1 million people, whose biological data, as well as environmental, lifestyle, and behavioral information, will be shared with qualified researchers. 

Heading the panel announced today are Co-chairs Richard Lifton from the Yale University School of Medicine; Bray Patrick-Lake from Duke University; and Kathy Hudson, the deputy director of science, outreach, and policy at the NIH. 

The panel will seek input from stakeholders in the Precision Medicine Initiative and define the scope and scale of the initiative, the issues that need to be addressed, and what success would look like five and 10 years out, the NIH said. The panel will be formed as a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director and will deliver a preliminary report in September that will inform efforts to explain the role that individual differences play in health. 

Along with the co-chairs, the panel includes Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, from the University of California, San Francisco; Tony Coles of Yumanity Therapeutics; Rory Collins from the University of Oxford; Andrew Conrad from Google X; and Josh Denny from Vanderbilt University. 

Also on the panel are Susan Desmond-Hellmann from the Gates Foundation; Eric Dishman from Intel; Kathy Giusti from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation; Sekar Kathiresan from the Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School; Sachin Kheterpal from the University of Michigan Medical School; Shiriki Kumanyika from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Spero Manson from the University of Colorado; P. Pearl O'Rourke of Partners Health Care System; Richard Platt of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute; Jay Shendure of the University of Washington; and Sue Siegel of GE Ventures & Healthymagination. 

"Establishing a 1 million person cohort is an audacious endeavor," NIH Director Francis Collins, said in a statement. "But the results from studying such a large group of Americans will build the scientific evidence necessary for moving precision medicine from concept to reality. I'm confident that we’ve pulled together the best of the best in this working group to put us on the right path forward." 

The NIH said that the group will also include ex-officio members from the US Department of Defense; US Department of Veteran Affairs; US Food and Drug Administration; the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.