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NIH Seeking Information on Rollout of Precision Medicine Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – In preparation for the launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative, the National Institutes of Health has issued a call for input on strategies for conducting baseline physical evaluations of program volunteers, as well as ways to best obtain biospecimens from these individuals.

The Precision Medicine Initiative, unveiled by President Barack Obama in January, aims to identify genomic drivers of cancer, improve how next-generation sequencing-based tests are evaluated and marketed, and develop methods for managing and analyzing large patient data sets while protecting individual privacy. As part of that effort, the NIH will develop a voluntary national research cohort of more than 1 million people and obtain sequencing data for as many of those individuals as possible.

Last month, the NIH announced the first round of funding opportunities under the initiative, including $28 million for centers to enroll participants and obtain biospecimens from them.

With the Precision Medicine Initiative expected to be fully underway next year, the NIH this week announced that it is requesting information from the public on how best to roll out the program.

Specifically, the agency is seeking comments on creating an infrastructure to cost-effectively administer a brief, standardized baseline physical evaluation and collect blood and urine samples from volunteers across the US; distributing standardized biospecimen collection kits to healthcare workers performing the examinations; and meeting quality-control standards for biospecimen handling and processing prior to analysis.

The NIH is also looking for information on protocol standardization and the overall costs for conducting the initial physical evaluations and sample collections. 

All responses must be submitted by Jan. 15, 2016. Additional details can be found here.