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Million Veteran Program Research Will Change The Way We Study Troops’ Health
A quick and easy blood donation can help pave the way to better healthcare for veterans — and also provide answers to complex medical questions — through a new gene study program conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Million Veteran Program, which launched in 2011, is a national, voluntary research study by the Department of Veterans Affairs to research what kinds of roles genes play in overall health. The program is a part of the White House Precision Medicine Initiative, and aims to help the VA better understand diseases (such as cancer and diabetes) that impact those who have served. According to Dr. John Concato, one of two principal investigators for the MVP, the project may be able to expedite the science of customizing disease prevention and treatment to individual patients and illnesses.
“Conducting research to improve health care is not new to VA. For example, the first antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis was developed and tested by VA in the late 1940s,” Concato wrote in a VA blog post. “That program has since completed more than 175 studies evaluating risk factors or treatments for heart disease, cancer, mental health, and many other disorders.”
This past January during his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for $215 million for the program, including $70 million for cancer research alone. He also discussed the background of the program during the White House Summit on Genetic Medicine in February.
“The VA has been gathering genomic data on a large number of men and women who have served their country, in order to serve them better in the VA system,” Obama said. “But this can be connected with researchers in a university setting who are focused on a specific disease, and they can use this big data to accelerate the research.”
To date, nearly 500,000 veterans and service members have contributed to the program, including the secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald. “It’s time we got beyond reacting to disease when it happens — we need to prevent the disease before it occurs,” the secretary said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2016 national convention earlier this week.
There are nearly 60 sites across the country that are currently accepting enrollments in the Million Veteran Program — and study visits take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Enrollees need only provide a blood sample for genomic analyses, complete a questionnaire, and consent to have their medical records reviewed to participate.
Confidentiality and identity protection are of paramount importance to the program — donor identities are kept secure from researchers and samples are labeled with codes instead of names and other identifying information.
See more information about the Million Veteran Program here.
A new bill would give troops with infertility related to their military service greater access to advanced reproductive treatments, including up to three completed cycles of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and cryopreservation of eggs and sperm for those heading to a combat zone.
The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.
"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.
That proposed Missouri law requiring residents own an AR-15 seems too good to be true. That's because it is
A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-backed forces have captured ISIS fighters tied to a January suicide bombing in Syria that killed four Americans, U.S. officials say, generating concrete leads for Washington about the deadliest attack to date there against U.S. personnel.