Dr. Whittle, along with Zeno Franco, Ph.D., Do-Pi, and Karen Dotson, MHSA, Program Director, are the executive team tasked with operations and recruitment of volunteers for ALL OF US.
Exactly what is personalized medicine? According to Dr. Whittle, “precision medicine is a medical model also called personalized medicine. It separates people into different groups — with medical decisions, practices, interventions, and products tailored to the specific patient based on their predicted response or disease risk. Used interchangeably, personalized medicine, precision medicine, stratified medicine, and P4 medicine describe the same concept. The core values of ALL OF US are transparency, diversity, and keeping participation secure.
Answering the recurring questions of potential volunteers, “What’s in it for me?” isn’t always easy. You know, it’s always valuable to help people understand what’s in it for them. I can tell them it’s been a difficult thing for us because of precisely what you said. If it were a study of breast cancer, many women affected would say, oh, yeah, I’m willing to help with that. But we say, well, it’s a study. Then it’s like, well, it’s not important to me. It’s a different attitude. Since all the cancers have significant inherited components, we’ll be studying all sorts of cancers.
Again, I’m taking you back to the deeper dive learning curve for me as a physician in this project you? I started before the project did. I think I told you before it started. I’m going to go even further back, so when I graduated medical school, people said, oh, when you’re in 10 years, you’ll be using genetics to make your medical decisions. And that was in 1984. Most practicing doctors haven’t done that; only a few. Probably cancer is where it’s most commonly used. For most of us, it’s still something that’s in the future. But in five years, I’ll be using it for the genetic makeup of my patients to guide my therapy. There will be huge changes in how I practice.
But how long will it be before we see the results of this research and new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease? I think drug therapy will change within five years because we already know that certain drugs are metabolized differently based on genetics. And what we’ll be able to see is how important that is. Of course, it won’t be every drug. However, more drugs than we use today will change within five years. In terms of changing how we do prevention. I might say to you don’t even need to get mammograms every year because your genetics are such that you’re that’s very unlikely.