NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health announced today that as part of President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative it will award $142 million over five years to the Mayo Clinic to create a biobank for the PMI Cohort Program.
The Mayo Clinic will use the funds to collect, store, and distribute biospecimens to advance precision medicine research. The specimens will be sent to labs for a variety of tests, including genetic and chemical analyses.
"These data, combined with other information provided by volunteers such as lifestyle and health questionnaires, medication history, electronic health records, physical exams, and environmental exposures and real-time physiology tracked through mobile health technologies, will help researchers study individual differences in health and disease," NIH said in a statement.
NIH Director Francis Collins added that with the 1 million people the PMI intends to enroll in the program, the scale of the information collected will create "an unprecedented resource for researchers working to understand all the factors that influence health and disease. The more we understand about individual differences, the better able we will be to tailor the prevention and treatment of illness."
The biobank will eventually contain more than 35 million biospecimens and associated data, the agency added. Further, the Mayo Clinic Florida Biospecimen Accessioning and Processing Core laboratory site will provide sample storage for 20 percent to 25 percent of the collection — about eight million to 10 million samples — in order to protect the resource from any localized natural disaster.
Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Biorepositories Program Co-director Stephen Thibodeau and Mine Cicek, director of the clinic's core lab, will oversee the biobank. Thibodeau also will serve on the PMI Cohort Program Steering Committee to help guide the program's plans and activities.
The NIH also said it plans to announce funding awards for the PMI Cohort Program Coordinating Center, Participant Technologies Center, and Healthcare Provider Organization Enrollment Centers later this summer. The program is set to launch later this year.