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Moving beyond one-size-fits-all medicine

In the past, medical research and practice have focused on the “average” patient, often yielding a one-size-fits-all approach that pays too little attention to individual differences. Now, “multi-omics” knowledge — from genomics, microbiomics, exposomics, and other emerging disciplines — promises to change that. Precision medicine will tailor the treatment to the unique characteristics of the patient, and the Scripps Research Digital Trials Center has been at the forefront of this new field.

As recipient of The Participant Center (TPC) grant from the National Institutes of Health, Scripps Research and their partners play an important role in the success of the All of Us Research Program, which is a key element of the Precision Medicine Initiative. The goal is to engage and retain at least one million residents of the United States as participants in a landmark ten-year health study. A broad spectrum of health information will be gathered for each participant, including biosamples that will permit genomic analysis. All data are protected by intensively reviewed security protocols.

Historically, some communities have been significantly underrepresented in biomedical research — or have been mistreated when they were included. In its work with the All of Us Research Program and other projects, the Digital Trials Center prioritizes broad inclusion and equitable treatment of all people. Particularly in precision medicine research, it is imperative that participants accurately reflect our entire society.

The knowledge we seek

  • How can we tailor healthcare for the unique characteristics of each patient?
  • Which design features of a study contribute to the long-term engagement of participants?
  • How can wearable sensors be integrated into longitudinal health studies?
  • In returning information to study participants, how can we facilitate comprehension?

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All across the country, people just like you are answering the call to help us build a healthier future. Everyone can help. We believe the answers are in all of us.