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June 2, 2015

A Public Health Perspective on a National Precision Medicine Cohort: Balancing Long-term Knowledge Generation With Early Health Benefit

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
JAMA. 2015;313(21):2117-2118. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3382

The new US precision medicine initiative1 has been made possible by improvement and price reduction in genome sequencing, as well as advances in multiple sectors of biotechnology. The initiative includes 2 components: a focus on cancer intended to spur development of new targeted cancer treatments, and a proposal for establishing a national cohort of at least 1 million people to explore genetic and environmental determinants of health and disease. The success of this initiative requires a public health perspective to help ensure generalizability, assess methods of implementation, focus on prevention, and provide an appropriate balance between generation of long-term knowledge and short-term health gains.