- On Thursday, the White House unveiled $70 million in new NIH investments in the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) to speed research on problems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, depression and traumatic brain injury.
- The White House also announced the addition of four more regional healthcare organizations to enroll patients in an NIH study.
- The announcements were part of a day-long conference (Frontiers Conference) hosted by President Obama aimed at exploring how science, technology and innovation can improve Americans’ lives in the future.
The White House Frontiers Conference was co-hosted by the White House, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University and brought together researchers, innovators, business leaders and others.
As part of his Precision Medicine Initiative, President Obama called on the NIH to create a 1 million person cohort to improve understanding of various diseases and their treatment and prevention. The four new participating healthcare systems brings the total number to eight, according to a White House fact sheet released in conjunction with the conference.
These new partners will receive $16 million to increase the cohort's geographic reach (bringing in communities from Pennsylvania, New England, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, and California) and bring new methods of engaging hard-to-reach communities to the table.
While the president’s initiative has increased research in precision medicines, particularly cancer, relatively few healthcare organizations today have precision medicine programs or apply precision medicine solutions with patients, according to a report released last month by HIMSS Analytics.
But some healthcare organizations are moving ahead. Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives recently launched the Precision Medicine Alliance to accelerate diagnosis and treatment protocols using genetic information. The program will initially focus on advanced diagnostic tumor profiling in cancer treatment and later include other areas like cancer, cardiovascular risk and pharmacogenomics. Close to 150 hospitals and care centers across the U.S. will have access to the data.