NEW ORLEANS — Science is now beginning to understand that everything, from sickness, health, and even weight loss, is determined by your genetics and your environment, and how the two interact.
The National Institutes of Health is looking for more than a million people to help researchers target treatments just for you.
Shirley Stewart and Alfred Halton are about to make history by changing the future of medicine. They are some of the first people across the U.S. to join the 'All of Us' research study.
"It will help future generations I believe," said study participant Shirley Stewart.
The information is Stewart's genetic code that makes her unique. And the NIH wants to have a data base of one million or more adults, so that one day doctors can treat you with precision or targeted medicines.
"Instead of giving everybody the same medicine, we give the right medicine to the right person," explained Dr. Vivian Fonseca, Chief of Endocrinology at Tulane and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research.
Dr. Fonseca is not only running the Tulane arm of 'All of Us,' but he was the first at Tulane to sign up. Researchers are out in public recruiting and they had a bus specially outfitted that will go into the community to recruit people. In one visit, you do an online survey, give your vitals, and a blood and urine sample, and then allow your electronic medical records be in the database with your DNA sample. He says your privacy will be protected, and researchers who use the information will not know who you are.
"I think this has the potential to change medicine. It has changed how we treat certain cancers, very precise, targeted treatments. And if we could do this for every disease, we'll really have transformed medicine," said Dr. Fonseca.
Halton feels like he is contributing to the future of mankind. "I feel like it's actually my calling, service," he said.
"I probably won't see it through, but there are others in my family who will get the benefits, and people who are not in my family will also benefit from it," said Stewart.
Both Tulane and LSU Health are enrolling people in the study. You will be compensated for your time with a $25 voucher.
To enroll at Tulane or LSU Health: