The Obama administration has set a goal of recruiting 1 million volunteers to hand over their genetic and health data, as part of the $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative.
Dr. Califf thinks that’s far too modest an ambition. “Let’s think in terms of 10, 20, or 100 million,” he said in an interview with STAT here at a global biotech convention.
And that’s not his only goal: Califf is also calling on life sciences companies to share information about the genetic data they collect and analyze in the quest to develop new treatments.
To accomplish that, Califf is touting a new tool: precisionFDA.
(It was first dreamed up about six years ago, before Califf joined the FDA, but he said he’d heard it had been greeted with derision: “At the time, people were like, ‘What is this guy doing, smoking pot?'”)
The Precision Medicine Initiative will ultimately generate a massive amount of genetic data (particularly if Califf gets his 100 million volunteers on board) — and that will be difficult to decipher.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, often says that only 1 percent of the vast volume of DNA sequenced each year is actually understood.
For Keshavan’s full STAT story, click here.
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