According to a story from Columbia University, the country’s All of Us Research Program is making consistent process in its ultimate goal to enroll a minimum of 1 million participants. These participants will submit critical medical data to the study that will help speed up biomedical research and further the development of precision medicine, which is the program’s ultimate goal.
Across the country are various regional consortiums that have been organized to facilitate the massive recruitment effort. The New York Consortium has made excellent progress and has recruited over 170,000 participants so far. Dr. David Goldstein, who directs the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University, is just one of the principal investigators who will oversee the program.
“One of the important contributions of the New York group is that the participants we enroll are among the most diverse enrolled at any of the sites in all sorts of ways, including socioeconomic status and geographic ancestry.” – Dr. David Goldstein
The New York Consortium has set a powerful standard for the diversity of its participants. Over 85 percent of those registered come from groups that are historically underrepresented in the medical field and vary widely in racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, and gender identity. This is an important aspect of this study that will make the data that is ultimately gathered from it all the more valuable; medical research is routinely undermined by patient samples that fail to reflect the actual human population.
Dr. Goldstein also places emphasis on the value that the All of Us program can have in facilitating research on the regional and local level. The program also aims to provide data to participants as it is revealed, as well as genetic counseling when necessary.
Critics of precision medicine argue that it relies to heavily on genetic data that fails to take into account other factors for a patient’s state of health. Dr. Goldstein agrees by saying that precision medicine is very narrow in its scope at this juncture; however, the findings from studies like All of Us could help the medical field tap into precision medicine’s true potential for the first time.