WASHINGTON — Government scientists are seeking a million volunteers willing to share the innermost secrets of their genes and daily lives as part of an ambitious 10-year research project to understand the causes and cures of disease.
Those selected to be members of the “precision medicine cohort” will be asked to provide a detailed medical history and blood samples so researchers can extract DNA. They will also be asked to report information about themselves — including their age, race, income, education, sexual orientation and gender identity, officials said.
But the project involves much more than statistics and laboratory work.
The government plans to collect information about a person’s lifestyle — diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, sleep patterns and other behavior — and the environment in which a person lives, so researchers can identify possible risk factors, including air pollution or high lead levels in drinking water.
Those wishing to participate will be able to sign up by computer or smartphone, and even by using an ordinary telephone to contact a traditional call center. The project, begun as part of President Obama
’s Precision Medicine Initiative
, seeks to develop treatments tailored to the characteristics of individual patients.
“Anybody anywhere can raise their hand and say they want to participate,” said Kathy L. Hudson, deputy director of the National Institutes of Health
, which is leading the effort.
Click here to read the full article by Robert Pear, The New York Times.