Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano is joining other national healthcare leaders to accelerate the field of precision medicine through the All of Us Research Program – the largest study of its kind ever executed in the U.S. The landmark study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will follow health and lifestyle information for 1 million participants across the country, providing extensive data to improve personalized care for future generations.
“Data from All of Us will allow for a paradigm shift,” said Giovanni Filardo, PhD, MPH, director of epidemiology for Baylor Scott & White Health and director of cardiovascular epidemiology for Baylor Scott & White Heart – Plano, who is principal investigator for the study. “Instead of basing decisions on the condition, data from the program will inform decisions, treatments and practices tailored to the individual patient given the condition.”
Baylor Scott & White has three locations, including Baylor Scott & White Heart – Plano, serving as a site for the study, and it is the only healthcare provider in Texas enrolling participants. The system is collaborating through a consortium that also includes Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Essentia Health headquartered in Minnesota, Spectrum Health in Michigan and University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Accelerating Precision Medicine
All of Us plans to follow participants for a period of at least 10 years from the time of enrollment – and potentially up to 15 or 20 years – to augment lab specimens collected with longitudinal lifestyle and health information.
Based on the large enrollment goal, as well as the diversity of the participants and the length of the study, the information collected will provide a variety of data points for researchers. The study has the potential to identify genetic profiles that are more susceptible to certain conditions and advance the development of treatments that better address those unique profiles.
“You can go to a department store to buy a suit, but if it’s not tailored, it may not look very sharp on you,” Dr. Filardo said. “On the other hand, you can have a suit that is custom tailored to you and that is what we hope to do in medicine – customized care.”
Advancing Cardiovascular Medicine
Among the many disease treatments this study could inform down the line, All of Us has the potential to change the future treatment of heart and vascular conditions in particular. Given the large number of participants involved, All of Us may provide insight into very rare cardiovascular diseases that currently do not have enough resources or funding for research, as well as more prevalent conditions, such as diabetes or atrial fibrillation (AFib).
“One example is the risk of AFib for those undergoing cardiac revascularization through PCI or surgery, where the risk of developing AFib can be between 30 to 60 percent depending on the procedure,” Dr. Filardo said. “We might be able to find a genetic profile of those more likely to face AFib after surgery. This would allow us to more effectively identify them and prepare them before surgery to prevent AFib and therefore support longer survival.”
Baylor Scott & White has committed to enrolling 26,000 patients in North and Central Texas and will receive a total of $14 million in funding from NIH over the next five years. Participants, at enrollment, will complete lifestyle and health questionnaires, undergo a baseline exam, and provide samples of blood (or saliva) and urine.
“From the participants’ standpoint, we have minimal requirements,” Dr. Filardo said. “We’ll be asking for their participation maybe once or twice a year via very short surveys. The engagement is minimal, but the potential return for advancement in the medical field is enormous.”