What is the Precision Medicine Initiative?

The Precision Medicine Initiative is a long-term research endeavor, involving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and multiple other research centers, which aims to understand how a person's genetics, environment, and lifestyle can help determine how best to prevent or treat disease.

The Precision Medicine Initiative has both short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals involve expanding precision medicine in the area of cancer research. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI; the NIH institute focused on cancer research) hope to use this approach to find new, more effective treatments for various kinds of cancer based on increased knowledge of the genetics and biology of the disease. The long-term goals of the Precision Medicine Initiative focus on bringing precision medicine to all areas of health and healthcare on a large scale. To this end, the NIH plans to launch a study, known as AllofUs, which involves a group (cohort) of at least 1 million volunteers from around the United States. Participants will provide genetic data, biological samples, and other information about their health. To encourage open data sharing, participants will be able to access their health information, as well as research that uses their data, during the study. Researchers will use these data to study a large range of diseases, with the goals of better predicting disease risk, understanding how diseases occur, and finding improved diagnosis and treatment strategies.