Rocking the Baseline: Verily, Duke, and Stanford Aim to Make Medicine More Predictive with a New Baseline Study

June 1, 2017
Rocking the Baseline: Verily, Duke, and Stanford Aim to Make Medicine More Predictive with a New Baseline Study
Source: aurielaki / Getty Images

Diana Manos, Contributing Editor

Verily Life Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, and Stanford Medicine have announced they will launch a new longitudinal baseline study to provide a platform for further genomic and lifestyle research.

The study, to be funded by Verily, will collect broad phenotypic health data from approximately 10,000 participants, who will each be followed over the course of at least four years. The study will be part of a larger initiative between the three groups, called Project Baseline.

Project Baseline “may have a profound impact” on the future of medicine, said Kenneth Mahaffey, M.D., a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and vice chair of clinical research at the Stanford Center for Clinical Research.

“Baseline is different than other programs,” he said, because it will provide a deeper and more comprehensive view of human health and disease—and the transitions from health to disease. “We hope to be able to identify yet-to-be-identified signals or biosignatures that accurately define health, disease, and the potential transitions.”

Dr. Mahaffey said the study might allow for a “a much greater understanding of the biology of disease and identify opportunities for new interventions or therapies.”

According to Dr. Mahaffey, Baseline came about as a culmination of discussions between Andrew Conrad, CEO of Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), and now an Alphabet company; Rob Califf, M.D., who at the time was a professor of medicine and vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke; and Sam Gambhir, M.D., chair of the radiology department and director of the molecular imaging program at Stanford.

“Both universities had ongoing projects and realized that embarking on Project Baseline as a strong academic-industry partnership between the three organizations could be quite powerful,” Dr. Mahaffey said.

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