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Slowly Taking Form

US President Barack Obama is to announce further details today regarding the precision medicine initiative that he first mentioned during his State of the Union address earlier this month.

As GenomeWeb has reported, the announcement includes plans to develop a nation-wide cohort of a million people on whom medical record, genetic, metabolomic, lifestyle, and other data will be collected to enable a deeper understanding of disease and promote a new way of doing research, the White House says.

In his budget proposal to be released next week, Obama is to ask for $215 million for the entire initiative, $130 million of which will go to the National Institutes of Health toward developing this cohort.

Another $70 million will be requested to fund personalized medicine efforts at the National Cancer Institute, $10 million will be for the Food and Drug Administration to develop a regulatory framework, and $5 million will be for health information technology efforts to strengthen security and privacy standards.

"Many details about how this initiative is going to be designed and operated are still in the process of being worked out," NIH Director Francis Collins tells the New York Times. He adds that a panel of advisers will be convened to "help us put real specifics into what is now an exciting but somewhat general plan."

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.