VA’s Million Veteran Program Reaches 500,000 Enrollment Milestone
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is celebrating the 500,000th voluntary enrollment in its Million Veteran Program (MVP). The milestone serves as a marker to indicate the MVP is now the largest genomic database in the world.
The VA created the MVP to develop an extensive database of genomic samples for disease research. Voluntary enrollment in the database started in 2011, with veterans providing a small blood sample. Researchers extract DNA from the sample and compare it with a baseline survey regarding the veteran’s military experience, health, and lifestyle habits. This survey will repeat over the course of the program to track changes in the veteran’s life.
Researchers compare DNA sequences with each veteran’s electronic health record, which allows researchers to identify connections between certain genomic structures and health conditions. Studies might select willing participants as candidates for future research on specific health conditions or treatments.
Researchers are already using data from the Million Veteran Program to research conditions such as mental illnesses, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Another use for the database lies with studying health conditions common among veterans such as PTSD, sleep apnea, and certain cancers.
Veteran Health is One of Our Top Priorities
The VA is working with some of the top medical professionals in the world to investigate and treat some of the most common and disabling health conditions. However, it could be years before the VA can release it to the public.
In the meantime, veterans with a service-connected disability can find some relief through the VA’s veterans’ disability benefits program. Contact the Disability Help Group for help filing your disability benefits claim or appealing a denial: 800-800-2009.