In a landmark study program of National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Precision Medicine Initiative, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has joined hands to play a vital role. In a recent press release, Columbia University Medical Center has announced that it will extend its support in the launch and operations of the Data and Research Support Center for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).

Earlier this month, Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine alongside New York Presbyterian and NYC Health and Hospitals/Harlem won a grant of about $5 million for year 2016 to enroll research participants in the cohort program of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). The program was announced by the president in his State of the Union address last year and the efforts to launch the program have taken a swift flight in year 2016.

Striving towards achieving what lies beneath the folds of Precision Medicine is the beginning of a new era in medicine. This novel approach aims at formulating tailor-made medication route for individuals after analyzing their genome, medical history, lifestyles and environmental interactions. The program cannot simply run successfully without the expertise of the best medical experts and effectively designed framework. For this purpose, the experts from Columbia University run at the forefront to revolutionize the field of medicine.

In a collective effort to prevent and treat illnesses with better efficacy, this landmark research aims at enrolling more than a million participants from the diverse American population.

The Columbia University President Lee C Bollinger said, “Columbia’s university-wide commitment to pioneering research and clinical care in precision medicine coincides perfectly with the national priority established by President Obama to improve health and save lives, and we are deeply enthusiastic about being selected to help lead this effort.” He added that in near future, the world will benefit from the medical advancements that Columbia has contributed to as a team player alongside other prestigious research centers, hospitals and universities.

CUMC also has the honor to have been designated as a regional PMI Cohort Program Healthcare Provider Organization (HPO) center, which is one of the only four centers across the country. This center of HPO at the CUMC is likely to enroll at least 150,000 research participants by the year 2021.

The dual role that has been entrusted upon Columbia University brings great pride to the medical science leaders at the university.

As NIH invested millions of dollars to establish a research coalition to reach the goals right in time, this collaboration also includes Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, Verily Life Sciences in Mountain View, California, and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Furthermore, the CUMC’s biomedical informatics team will help collect and organize data from various sources that will assist in establishing health records including electronic health records, medical database, pharmaceutical database and payers’ records, This large information will then be standardized to ensure the quality of the data which in turn will help collect meaningful data that helps to get a step closer to achieving the goal.

Owing to the project’s great dependence on bioinformatics facilities, the bioinformatics experts from the University of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Northwestern University and University of Texas will also be included in the work.

This data, which is hoped to increase by manifolds in the next five years, will collect all the relevant information about the genetic susceptibility to diseases, lifestyle, medical history, medications used and environmental interactions of all the enrolled individuals in the program. This will allow them to have a streamlined data to find individual trends which affect greatly how the individuals respond to drugs for different ailments. In this breakthrough study, the researchers also aim at making use of their knowledge on precision medicine to improve treatments for cancer patients which remain one of the biggest challenges faced by the medical experts, globally.

Lee Goldman, MD, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and Chief Executive, CUMC, said, “Our role in this endeavor is a further validation of our expertise in large-scale data management and analysis.” He further added that their work for the PMI Cohort Program will keep up with the required ethical and geographical diversity of the participants for collection of a wider data. The university also is well-equipped with tools and instruments required in precision medicine and Columbia University also has expertise of best brains in the field.

Earlier this month, FDA also issued two guidance drafts for precision medicine advancement and with the work in precision medicine progressing at a fast pace, the results are likely to be seen in a matter of years now.