The vision is ambitious : Enroll 1 million people in the NIH’s All of Us Research program, whose goal is to make personalized medicine a reality for everyone. That means ensuring that more than half of participants come from communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research. A year after its launch, 230,000 people have joined, 80% of whom belong to those groups, a new progress report says. Participants share their health data through electronic health records; physical measurements; blood, urine, and saliva samples; and Fitbit devices. In the future, that could also mean genetic sequencing of those samples. The hope is to discover clues that predict disease, how to treat it, and how to develop new therapies — for all of us.
Knowledge gained from observational cohort studies has dramatically advanced the prevention and treatment of diseases. Many of these cohorts, however, are small, lack diversity, or do not provide comprehensive phenotype data. The All of Us Research Program plans to enroll a diverse group of at least 1 million persons in the United States in order to accelerate biomedical research and improve health. The program aims to make the research results accessible to participants, and it is developing new approaches to generate, access, and make data broadly available to approved researchers. All of Us opened for enrollment in May 2018 and currently enrolls participants 18 years of age or older from a network of more than 340 recruitment sites. Elements of the program protocol include health questionnaires, electronic health records (EHRs), physical measurements, the use of digital health technology, and the collection and analysis of biospecimens. As of July 2019, more than 175,000 participants had contributed biospecimens. More than 80% of these participants are from groups that have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research. EHR data on more than 112,000 participants from 34 sites have been collected. The All of Us data repository should permit researchers to take into account individual differences in lifestyle, socioeconomic factors, environment, and biologic characteristics in order to advance precision diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.