How one million volunteers could one day revolutionize medicine

A bold NIH program promises groundbreaking insights into some of the nation’s deadliest diseases. Researchers want hundreds of thousands of volunteers to get involved.

By Eric Betz, Discover

The future of individualized medicine may depend on an army of one million volunteers. And scientists want you to get involved.

Researchers with the National Institutes of Health are recruiting citizen scientists to enlist in a study of unprecedented scope and depth. The program, called All of Us, promises to take personal data from a diverse cross-section of volunteers and turn it into groundbreaking insights about the complex roles our genes, lifestyles and environments play in our health.

“By studying people longitudinally over time, we’re able to see diseases arise,” says Sheri Schully, the All of Us program’s acting chief medical and scientific officer.

In return for completing surveys and offering up biological samples, the program will send participants personalized results about everything from their ancestry to their genetic predisposition for certain diseases. It’s also free to join.

And last month, All of Us sent participants back the first set of genetic results. Read more …