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Mayo Clinic to get funding for work with precision medicine group

Add the Mayo Clinic to the list of organizations that will have a major role in the Precision Medicine Initiative.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is slated to receive $130 million in 2016 from the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) for its part in building a national precision medicine group of a million patients. In turn, NIH will pledge $142 million to the Mayo Clinic over a five-year period and those funds will be used to create the world’s largest research cohort biobank. The Mayo Clinic biobank will be used to capture, store and distribute the biological specimens of the PMI Cohort Program. The goal of the PMI program is to study the health and individualities the PMI Cohort volunteers and use the findings to ultimately craft more personalized treatment plans for diseased patients.

The Mayo Clinic’s infrastructure allows it to store and analyze more than 35 million biospecimens, and the clinic will use robotics and lab automation to process and retrieve the specimens.

The data collected in the biobank will be augmented by surveys given to PMI Cohort volunteers, EHR data, medication history and real-time health tracking done through mobile devices. All of the information from the precision medicine group will be analyzed by researchers to determine genetic and environmental differences that could influence an individual patient’s health condition.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., NIH Director, explained the motivation behind the PMI: “The more we understand about individual differences, the better able we will be to tailor the prevention and treatment of illness,” he said in an NIH release.

The Mayo Clinic development follows an announcement made earlier this year that linked NIH, ONC and the Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics together in hopes of advancing precision medicine. Those three entities jointly formed the Sync for Science pilot, a program that will take health data donated by patients and make it available to the PMI Cohort Program.

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