NIH plots million-person megastudy Another company, 23andMe, has built a genetics research database using information onvince 1 million Americans to wear from consenting customers. If older cohort smart watches that beam their blood studies had let patients “own” their data, pressure, steps walked, and other “we could recruit this million person cohealth information to a central datahort almost instantaneously,” said 23andMe base every hour of every day? Ask them CEO Anne Wojcicki. to weigh in on how their genetic data Others raised additional questions. For are used by researchers? Those were some example: Should the study enroll children? of the ideas floated last week at a workshop Including families would strengthen the to flesh out the precision medicine initiative study’s power to find genetic links with that President Barack Obama proposed last disease, some noted. But Rory Collins, a month. To accelerate the development of leader of UK Biobank, a cohort study of treatments tailored to individual patients, 500,000 adults, recommended a separate Obama called for enlisting at least 1 million pediatric cohort because recruiting chilAmerican volunteers in a long-term study of dren and studying their diseases is a very genes, environment, and health different enterprise than deal(Science, 6 February p. 601). ing with adults. “If you try to It may sound straightdo everything, you’re likely to Seizing an opportunity forward, but not so, concluded fail,” he predicted—a problem the nearly 90 scientists and inthat contributed to the reFrancis Collins says plummeting sequencing costs and new dustry and patient representacent demise of NIH’s National technologies have made a large U.S. cohort study feasible. tives who met at the National Children’s Study (Science, 2004 2014 Institutes of Health (NIH). Still, 19 December 2014, p. 1441). by the end of the 2-day meetThere was greater agreeCost of sequencing a $22,000,000 $1000 to $5000 human genome ing, most of the participants ment that mobile, “mHealth” seemed enthusiastically on technologies that can moniTime to sequence a 2 years

Biomedical research. NIH plots million-person megastudy.

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