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NIH Seeks New Centers for Precision Medicine Initiative Participant Enrollment, Management

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health announced today that it is seeking new regional medical centers to help enroll and manage a portion of the up to 1 million volunteers expected to participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative.

The PMI, which was launched in 2015, is establishing a voluntary national research cohort of 1 million people or more who will provide sequencing and other biological data as part of its broader goal of advancing personalized medicine in the US. These participants may enroll in the PMI directly or through a network of so-called regional healthcare provider organizations (HPOs).

Earlier this month, NIH Director Francis Collins announced that the agency had selected the PMI's initial HPOs — Columbia University Health Sciences, Northwestern University, University of Arizona, and University of Pittsburgh — and planned on issuing a call for additional centers soon. 

The NIH said that it is now looking to add an additional three medical centers to the HPO network. As with the initial four regional HPOs, each will receive up to $4 million in funding for the 12-month period of the award. They will be tasked with engaging, enrolling, and retaining 10,000 cohort participants each, as well as performing physical evaluations, collecting biospecimens, and providing health record data.

HPO applicants are also expected to provide a plan for scaling their activities to include the annual enrollment of approximately 35,000 volunteers in future years.

Additional information about this funding opportunity can be found here.

While the national research cohort represents a major component of the PMI, the NIH has been actively investing in other aspects of precision medicine, as well. Earlier this week, the agency announced that it had awarded $31 million over five years to three institutes — Stanford University, Medical University of South Carolina, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center — to conduct research into precision medicine in racial minorities and other health disparity populations.

Also this month, the National Cancer Institute announced the launch of a large-scale study investigating the genetics of breast cancer in black women, which could potentially yield personalized therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for these patients.