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Mayo Clinic Gets $142M to Serve as Precision Medicine Initiative Biobank

May 27, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic will be awarded $142 million in funding over five years by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as the national Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program biobank.

The biobank will hold a research repository of biologic samples, known as biospecimens, for this longitudinal program that aims to enroll 1 million or more U.S. participants to better understand individual differences that contribute to health and disease to advance precision medicine.

The Precision Medicine Initiative was launched by President Barack Obama in 2015 “to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.” Last month, it was announced that Eric Dishman, vice president of Intel Corp.’s Health & Life Sciences Group, will be the director of the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program.

The Cohort Program biobank will include participants from diverse social, racial/ethnic, and ancestral populations living in a variety of geographies, social environments, and economic circumstances, and from all age groups and health statuses, according to officials. The PMI Cohort Program biobank then will provide the infrastructure to store and curate more than 35 million biospecimens.

Data from biological samples combined with information from lifestyle and health questionnaires, medication history, electronic health records, physical exams, and environmental exposures and real time physiology tracked through digital technologies, will help researchers examine individual differences in health and disease.

“This range of information at the scale of 1 million people will be an unprecedented resource for researchers working to understand all the factors that influence health and disease,” Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., NIH director, said in a statement. “The more we understand about individual differences, the better able we will be to tailor the prevention and treatment of illness.”

What’s more, Mayo Clinic is investing in its Florida and Minnesota campuses in the PMI Cohort Program biobank with a 30,000-square-foot facility expansion, including advanced automation technology, robotic freezers, and personnel. The Biospecimen Accessioning and Processing Core laboratory site on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus will provide sample storage for 20-25 percent (8-10 million samples) of the collection, to protect the national resource from a localized natural disaster, officials said.

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