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    NIH’s 1-million-volunteer precision medicine study is here

    President Obama’s huge 1-million-person long-term health study is getting started. On Feb. 25th, the White House and National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced several pilot projects, including one to work out how to recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers online. A Google company, Verily, will offer technical help.
    This cohort study is a major project in the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) announced by Obama just over a year ago, which aims to enroll a large number of people in a genetic database representing the U.S. population and probe the interplay among genetics, lifestyle factors and health.
    NIH aims to enroll the cohort’s first 79,000 participants this year, including “a very tentative” 50,000 through direct recruitment. Total enrollment is set to reach 1 million by the end of 2019 becoming the largest, most ambitious research project of this sort ever undertaken. The White House announced on the same day a batch of projects being launched by over 40 universities, patient groups, companies and others to promote personalized medicine. The PMI cohort program will cost $130 million this year, and the Obama administration had requested $230 million in 2017. The costs will then rise to about $330 million a year, NIH officials say, bringing the total to more than $1 billion for the first 4 years.