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Trends to Watch

Among Margaret Anderson's list of 10 medical research trends to watch this year are the Precision Medicine Initiative and faster drug approvals at the US Food and Drug Administration.

Anderson, the executive director of FasterCures, writes at the Huffington Post that the PMI has "the potential to be a transformative initiative for research." However, she also cautions that its success will depend on how it's implemented. To be effective, the enrollment of its million-person cohort needs to be representative of the American public at large, she notes. "Can all the stakeholders play nice and lean in to realize the vision?" Anderson says.

She also notes that the FDA has sped up its drug approval process, but wonders whether the pace is sustainable. Anderson writes that the list of things to do in 2016 that Janet Woodcock, the director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, is "exciting yet overwhelming." But, Anderson says that Woodcock's center is quite understaffed. She argues that there need to be changes to federal hiring policies and practices so FDA can attract the staffers it needs.

Anderson also says to keep an eye on drug pricing, patient engagement, and changes to academic research workforce, among others.