University to receive $71.6 million over a five-year period. PHOTO CREDIT: Vanderbilt University
NASHVILLE–The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has chosen Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) for a research grant to perform a landmark study of the factors affecting the health of over a million people, according to an article from eurekalert.org.
The university will be the Data and Research Support Center for the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, which will study genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors as they are related to the health of individuals. The NIH plans to provide $71.6 million in funding over a five-year period for the establishment and operation of the center. This will be the largest grant ever received by VUMC.
Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC, and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, in acknowledging the grant, said, “We are honored to be selected to play a foundational role in a program that promises to drive innovation in precision medicine for decades to come. At Vanderbilt, we believe that understanding each person’s unique nature is essential to their care.”
The PMI Cohort Program will begin to enroll volunteer participants by the end of this year, and hopes to reach its enrollment goal by 2020. The program will receive about $55 million of the grant money in fiscal 2016.
NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., said in a news release, the PMI Cohort Program’s goal will be to determine “why some people with elevated genetic and environmental risk factors for disease still manage to maintain good health, and how people suffering from a chronic illness can maintain the highest possible quality of life.”
The center’s role in the program will be to gather and organize an enormous data set of precision medicine indicators, and offer research support and tools for analysis to scientists seeking answers.
According to the press release, the program will be an effort of unprecedented magnitude, and will require expansive and imaginative strategic and operational partnerships, including a national network of Healthcare Provider Organizations.
VUMC will be aided by a number of collaborators, including the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and the University of Texas School of Bioinformatics in Houston.