San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

NIH Precision Medicine/All of Us Research Program

Precision medicine is an approach to disease treatment that takes the full diversity of the individual into account, including their environment, lifestyle, behaviors, and genes. For clinicians, it means having the best information and tools available to treat patients from all walks of life, and for patients, it is to get treatments tailored to their needs.

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) experience many health disparities. The reason being is that they have often not been included in researches that lead to the development of treatments and prevention programs. Also, there is not sufficient information about the health status of these communities. There is the need for more information on clinical trials in these populations, as well as their participation in research efforts. Some examples of how a lack of information or of precise treatments has impacted these communities:

- “Screen at 23” / Diabetes Screening Practices: Asian Americans are at a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes than Whites, and that the disease happens at a lower body mass index (BMI) of 23. Up until 2015, national screening guidelines did not take into account this factor as they had not been included in large national studies. In 2016, the Amerian Diabetes Association has added to their guidelines screening for Asian patients at BMI equal to or higher than 23 (with one or two risk factors).

- Adverse Drug Effects: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are extremely underrepresented in clinical trials. Drug therapies are not designed for them specifically, and sometimes this can lead to serious consequences. In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning and changed the label for a widely prescribed statin drug, with the study revealing an increased risk of muscle damage as a side effect for Asians. The new label recommended Asian patients be started at the lowest dose possible.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a national effort: The All of Us Research Program that seeks to recruit a million or more volunteers in the U.S. from every race/ethnicity, geographical location, and walk of life. The information this cohort provides will lead to studies that could make medical breakthroughs such as treatments and prevention programs tailored to the individual.

For more information:

PrecisionMedicine For Print.pdf

Provider Handout (1).pdf

Please join us!

July 6, 2018 @ Hilton Financial District, 6:30-8:00 PM for the NIH All of Us Research Program.


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