On May 6, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will open national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program. According to the NIH the program is a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds.
All of Us seeks to transform the relationship between researchers and participants, bringing them together as partners to guide the program’s directions, goals and responsible return of research information. Participants will be able to access their own health information, summary data about the entire participant community, and information about studies and findings that come from All of Us. Data from the program will be broadly accessible for research.
“The time is now to transform how we conduct research, with participants as partners, to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways. This is what we can accomplish through All of Us,” says Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director, NIH.
Volunteers will join more than 25,000 participants across the U.S. who already have enrolled in All of Us as part of a yearlong beta test to prepare for the program’s national launch. The goal is to enroll 1 million or more volunteers, and sample communities that have been underrepresented in research, thereby making the program the largest, most diverse resource of its kind.
Mayo Clinic is one of more than 100 organizations across the U.S. that is funded by the NIH to partner in the program. In 2016, Mayo Clinic was awarded $142 million in funding over five years by the NIH to serve as the nation’s biobank.
“The work we are doing with NIH allows us to collect health data from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in research studies, such as women and minorities,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic. “This new effort will allow U.S. researchers using the All of Us Research Program biobank at Mayo Clinic to translate findings that truly represent the diversity of our citizens.”
The storage of 35 samples from each participant, for a total of 35 million biospecimens, will be housed at the All of Us Research Program biobank at Mayo Clinic.
"The cohort will represent the country in all of its aspects. This is important as we take a look at underrepresented populations and our ability to look at how discoveries translate to the population as a whole,” says Stephen Thibodeau, Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the All of Us Research Program biobank funding award. Dr. Thibodeau is the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director, Mayo Clinic Biorepositories Program, Center for Individualized Medicine.
To prepare for the national launch, Mayo doubled the size of the 35,000-square-foot-facility in Minnesota for processing, storage and distribution in addition to a 2,000-square-foot expansion of Mayo's facility in Florida, which will store 20-25 percent (8-10 million) of the samples in the collection to protect them from a localized natural disaster.
“Our facility is built to serve as the archive for all biospecimens, storing them under optimal conditions to preserve quality and minimize loss, damage or contamination, and will be able to retrieve them efficiently for distribution,” says Mine Cicek, Ph.D., co-principal investigator. Dr. Cicek is the director of the Biospecimen Accessioning and Processing Core Laboratory.
Mayo will harness the resources of Mayo Medical Laboratories to accomplish the program's goals. The Mayo Medical Laboratories U.S. network includes all 50 states, with more than 300 couriers nationwide. Mayo Medical Laboratories has long-standing relationships with major logistic providers to ensure the shortest transit time possible for specimens.
“Our enthusiastic participation in All of Us reflects our belief that, by advancing precision medicine, we will ultimately contribute to improving the health of our nation,” says Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.
“All of Us” is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.