The laboratories of Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Photo courtesy Scripps

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla will receive an initial grant of $20 million for its role in President Obama’s national precision medicine initiative, the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday.

The grant, part of the the most ambitious research program in the history of American medicine, could total $120 million for Scripps over five years.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to help lead this far-reaching, transformative program of one million or more U.S. participants with long-term follow up,” said principal investigator Eric Topol, who is director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

Eric Topol

“Our focus at STSI for the decade of its existence has been to advance individualized medicine. Using genomics, mobile apps and biosensors and providing data back to each participant, this study will set the foundation for new medical knowledge and ways of engaging people in research as citizen-scientists,” Topol said.

The five-year award is part of the Cohort Program of President Obama’s precision medicine initiative. The research effort aims to engage one million or more U.S. participants to improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.

“STSI already has played a pivotal role in a digital medicine revolution that is radically transforming the way we think about and provide health care,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health, which operates STSI in partnership with TSRI. “This grant ensures the continuation of that work for years to come on a scale that will benefit the entire nation.”

Participants will be invited to answer questions about their health history and status, share their genomic and other biological information through simple blood and urine tests, and grant access to their clinical data from electronic health records. In addition, mobile health devices and apps will provide lifestyle data and environmental exposures in real time.

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.