Mega Research Initiatives of 2016 – Big Goals and Big Investments

Many new and exciting mega research initiatives caught our attention in 2016. These research initiatives taken during the Obama presidency with continued support by the Trump administration have the potential to change the face of healthcare and clinical research in the coming years. Let’s have a look at the mega projects with big investments and bigger goals to keep track of in 2017.

Precision Medicine Initiative

  • What is it?  Precision Medicine Initiative is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.”
  • Launched by former president Barack Obama
  • Investment – $215 Million (2016 budget)
  • Goal:
    • New model of patient-powered research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select best treatments for a patient.
    • Recruit one million Americans to get hints about health and diseases from their data.


Human Cell Atlas

  • What is it? Announced in October 2016 Human Cell Atlas is the first project of its kind that aims to make an atlas of all cells of human body. As a result of this initiative, scientists hope to enhance our understanding of the human body and hence transform research on human development and progression of diseases such as asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, suggesting new diagnostic tools and treatments.
  • Launched by Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Wellcome Trust
  • Investment – $220 Million
  • Goal:
    • Aims to chart the types and properties of all human cells, across all tissues and organs, to build a reference map of the healthy human body.
    • Identify and describe all human cell types.


Cancer Moonshot Initiative

  • What is it? Cancer Moonshot Initiative is a coalition announced in January 2016 in the United States, that aims to find vaccine-based immunotherapies against cancer. Managed by a consortium of companies called The National Immunotherapy Coalition (NIC), it intends to create access to over 60 novel and approved agents against cancer that are under exploration.
  • Led by former vice president Joe Biden21
  • Investment – $1 Billion (2016-17 budget)
  • Goal:
    • Make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.
    • Attempt to make 10 years of progress in cancer research over the next five years.


The BRAIN Initiative

  • What is it? The World Health Organization estimates that devastating brain disorders affect more than one billion people worldwide. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative aims at radically enhancing our understanding of the human brain. It is a large-scale effort to aid researchers gain insights necessary for treating a wide variety of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.
  • Launched by President Obama
  • Investment– $150 Million
  • Goal:
    • Map the neural circuits in human body and understand the mechanics of thought and memory.


These are indeed big investments. To what extent their goals are met is yet to be seen. TrialX will closely follow these initiatives to observe the impact of their efforts on healthcare and clinical research.


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