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Helping more people, faster

The most important work that will be done by the initiative will benefit the health of Missourians.

Nationally, Missouri ranks 38th out of all 50 states in overall health. Further, Missouri ranks poorly in terms of lifestyle practices, such as excessive drinking, physical inactivity and smoking. These lifestyle factors are closely linked to the region’s most prevalent health concerns, serious conditions including vascular, cancer and neurological diseases.

To quickly and effectively improve health in the state, the NextGen Precision Health Initiative will provide a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses research, product development and public health education. This includes:

  • Personalized drugs for cancers
  • PTSD treatments tailored for veterans and active military
  • Improved Alzheimer's therapy efficacy
  • Early autism diagnosis
  • Neurobehavioral insights to opioid, cocaine and alcohol addiction
  • Depression care personalized to genes, environment and lifestyle
  • MRI brain scans to test propensity for psychosis
  • Next-generation DNA sequencing to enable better management of cardiovascular disease
  • Continuing our work as a worldwide supplier of life-saving chemo replacement medication

Economic benefits of better health

Cancer, vascular and neurological disease have major economic effects on patients and their families. From 2010–2014, Missouri lost an average of $2 billion each year from cancer deaths alone, not even accounting for the economic losses of cancer survivors or their caregivers. The losses from cardiovascular disease are even worse than those of cancer. Current trends suggest the total global economic burden of cardiovascular disease will top $1 trillion by 2030. Similarly, neurological conditions, which affect 21.8% of Americans, cost about $1.5 trillion per year or 8.8% of GDP in treatment, reduced worker output and related social services.

MU Research Reactor core

Our vision is that the NextGen Precision Health Initiative will help boost Missouri’s economy by bringing industry partners under the same roof as interdisciplinary researchers, leading to new internal or private-sector companies, therapeutics and materials to find treatments and cures for the diseases that are severely impacting us all.

Student success and workforce development in Missouri

The NextGen Initiative will also provide major advantages for UM System students.

Students will train in the rich environment of a leading biomedical research facility, learning how to transfer research into the most promising drugs and technologies through collaborations between UM System universities and industry partners. The skills and connections that students develop during their involvement with the NextGen Precision Health Initiative will serve them for their entire career as they go on to become world-leading researchers, industrialists and practitioners.

As we educate the next generation of researchers and medical clinicians, the NextGen Initiative will demonstrate the importance of working together across disciplines to better address the needs of our citizens as individuals. Ultimately, these efforts will provide valuable experience for future professionals and fuel the state’s development of a highly-skilled workforce.

Jeffrey Bryan and colleague examine white dog
Dr. Jeffrey Bryan, NextGen Researcher at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, with canine patient and colleague