According to the “NIH-Wide Strategic Plan” developed for 2016-2020, the need to understand basic biological mechanisms is growing and generating vast amounts of data which is propelling biomedicine into “Big Data”.
NIH is involved in several areas that will require rapid, open sharing of data, and greater harmonization of scientific efforts in areas related to the BRAIN Initiative, Precision Medicine, molecular, cellular, and imaging technologies, and for the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS).
For example, in recent years, more cost-effective DNA sequencing technologies have enabled studying the molecular causes of disease. This has further expanded knowledge on how to accelerate therapeutic development and improve disease prevention and health promotion.
NIH and multi agencies are working together on the “BRAIN Initiative” which is revolutionizing understanding how the brain enables the body. To revolutionize understanding of how the brain enables the body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, the BRAIN Initiative supports developing entirely new technologies. This includes technologies that will have the potential to benefit many other areas of biomedical research, such as single-cell analysis methods.
The NIH led “Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort” (PMI) project with one million U.S volunteers, will build the knowledge base needed to advance precision medicine. PMI will use emerging biomedical tools and technologies such as EHRs, DNA sequencing, and exposure monitoring.
PMI will also take advantage of the latest methods in data science which includes advances in large-scale databases, computational tools, and omics methodologies to characterize individuals. In addition, PMI will enable researchers to test whether mobile technologies are useful in adapting preventive strategies to individuals’ needs and preferences and then able to monitor compliance and outcomes.
PMI will also pioneer efforts to merge, integrate, and analyze data from a wide variety of sources in order to study basic biological data, obtain health status information from EHRs, data on individuals exposed to environmental concerns, plus geospatial data on communities exposed to environmental hazards.
Also, needed are molecular, cellular, and imaging technologies to identify diseases and conditions in early more readily treatable states before progressing to symptomatic or metastatic diseases. NIH encourages developing less costly point-of-care technologies that will improve patient outcomes.
NIH currently supports the “”Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System” (PROMIS) which is using measurement science to create a state-of-the art assessment system for self-reported health.
In addition, NIH seeks to encourage public-private partnerships with health-related industries, including small businesses, venture capital companies, biotech companies, and large pharmaceutical companies to assist with the development of “Big Data”.
Now and for the future, NIH is specifically seeking to:
- Support research that will develop effective, tailored behavioral, and social interventions to promote health and prevent illness in populations that experience health disparities
- Develop certain mobile health technologies to use to enhance health promotion and disease prevention
- Develop a wearable biosensor for monitoring blood alcohol levels in real time to use to prevent alcohol related injuries and disease
- Develop technologies to reverse paralysis and restore some normal function to help spinal cord injury patients
- Advance research on the artificial pancreas that will lead to advanced trials showing significantly better management of diabetes without dangers of hypoglycemia
Go to https://www.nih.gov/sites/default/files/about-nih/strategic-plan-fy2016-2020-508.pdf to view the report “NIH-Wide Strategic Plan” published November 2019.