The Rochester, Minn.-based system will establish the world's largest biobank for President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, which hopes to persuade at least 1 million Americans to voluntarily provide their biological samples in order to better understand how diseases and treatments vary among individuals.
Mayo will store the biospecimens at its Minnesota and Florida campuses. Most of the operations will take place in the Rochester biospecimen lab but 20% to 25% of the samples will be placed in Florida as well, to protect them from any possible natural disasters. Mayo plans to expand its lab facilities by 30,000 square feet for the biobank.
The biobank effort aims to reflect the diversity of the U.S. population by including participants from different ethnic, geographic and economic backgrounds, according to a news release.
The initiative will recruit volunteers who undergo a baseline health exam, provide a biospecimen and agree to share their electronic medical records.
“This range of information at the scale of 1 million people will be an unprecedented resource for researchers working to understand all the factors that influence health and disease,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, in a news release.
Precision medicine was lauded by Obama in his 2015 State of the Union address as a possible cure for cancer and diabetes.