Free genetic testing offered to propel medical research, All of Us program building ‘most diverse database’
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program is offering no-cost genetic testing, just in time for Father’s Day.
The free genetic testing kit offers a unique opportunity to discover your ancestral past and learn more about your own health.
By participating in the NIH program, researchers will be able to study your results in hopes of better understanding how certain genetic traits affect underrepresented communities, which could greatly affect the future of customized healthcare.
Matthew Thombs, Senior Project Manager of Digital Health Technology at Scripps Research walked 8NewsNow through what participants would experience when they sign up for the study. He also explained why he is proud to be a part of the All of Us Research Program:
“I joined the All of Us Research Program a little over a year ago and have fallen in love with its mission of creating the largest and most diverse health resource ever. I lost a close family member a few years ago to a condition I believe could have been managed with changes to their lifestyle. What we are building will empower researchers with the information needed to make such conclusions and forever alter how diseases are treated. I hope that what we are doing here will help my son grow up in a world where health care is more of a priority and many of the ailments we see today are things of the past.”
You can sign up for the program online or by downloading the All of Us mobile application from the iOS or Android app store. Once you open the application, you would create a personal profile, sign the necessary consent forms and decide if you would also like to receive a salivary kit. The test kit would be mailed to you free of charge, and include a pre-paid mailing label to return your sample.
MOVING AWAY FROM ONE-SIZE-FITS ALL HEALTH CARE
- Create online profile, answer health surveys, donate DNA sample, share health records
- Researchers study data to search for patterns on what affects the participant’s health
- Participants receive their results to learn about their ancestry, unique genetic traits
- Researchers share discoveries on how healthcare can be tailored for different people
Thombs says a fun aspect of The All of Us Research Program is learning more about traits that may have been passed down to you. Can you roll your tongue like your father? Does caffeine sensitivity run in your family?
You may even discover that you need to modify or remove something from your diet to improve your health or help you feel better. Your test kit results provide you with information on “what makes you you.”
The information collected is also shared anonymously with more than 800 researchers in search of medical discoveries for COVID-19, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and other conditions.
INVITATION JOIN THE RESEARCH PROGRAM
Thombs says The All of Us Research Program is working to build a diverse community of one million or more participants across the country to help researchers learn more about how genetics, environment and lifestyle affect individuals’ health, especially those in communities who have largely been left out of these kinds of research programs.
“We want to be able to propel research forward,” said Thombs.
Perhaps your genetic makeup allows you to recover from certain ailments and return to excellent health. That data is valuable and can help someone whose body struggles with the same illness. To understand how humans function and what makes us sick, all human beings need to be included in research studies.
According to Thombs, participants can provide as much or as little information as they like, “every single data point matters.”
Feel free to visit the All of US website at www.joinallofus.org/health for more information.