Cedars-Sinai Joins U.S. Precision Medicine Drive

Marc Goodman, PhD

Cedars-Sinai is playing a major role in a new statewide network that will enroll participants in the national Precision Medicine Initiative, launched by President Obama last year to support research, technology and policies for developing individualized healthcare.

The California Precision Medicine Consortium is one of eight regional groups that will implement the national initiative's All of Us Research Program, formerly known as the PMI Cohort Program. This program aims to recruit 1 million or more U.S. volunteers to contribute medical data about themselves, including their electronic health records, blood samples and real-time information from smartphones or wearable devices. This data will create a national resource to help researchers answer important questions about health conditions.

Marc Goodman, PhD, who leads community and population health research in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Biomedical Sciences, serves on the steering committee of the California consortium, which in October was awarded $1.3 million by the National Institutes of Health. He also leads a key subcommittee, tasked with recruiting participants across the consortium's eight institutions.

"Our goal is to enroll at least 10,000 representative volunteers during a 12-month period," said Goodman, a professor of Medicine who also directs cancer prevention and control in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

One of the consortium's strengths is California's diverse demographics, which include Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, Pacific Islanders and other groups, he said. That quality is critical to the national goals, according to Eric Dishman, director of the All of Us Research Program. "We want this program to be open to everyone across the United States," Dishman said. "We're making a concerted effort to include people from all communities and walks of life, to make sure that the knowledge we gain benefits everyone."

The National Institutes of Health defines precision medicine as "an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person." In addition to participating in the new consortium, Cedars-Sinai is helping to advance this approach through Cedars-Sinai Precision Health, a partnership among scientists, clinicians and industry that it launched in September.

Besides Cedars-Sinai, the California Precision Medicine Consortium includes the University of California, San Diego, which leads the consortium; the UC branches in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Francisco; University of California Health; and the San Diego Blood Bank.

The All of Us Research Program is not yet enrolling participants. For updates and more information, visit the program's website.