May 14, 2008

23andme is Shaking up Clinical Research

It is coming.

Yes, 23andme is challenging the traditional way we are conducting clinical trials. In a press release today, 23andme is announcing a partnership with the the Parkinson's Institute to discover genetic and environmental factors of Parkinson's disease.

Six months ago, my colleagues and I send out a grant proposal arguing the potential efficiencies of combining consumer genomics with clinical trials. Although I am frustrated to learn a week ago that our proposal was not funded, I am very happy to see the press release today from 23andme, which essentially validated our proposal.

On a separate note, the Wall Street Journal reports today on a shortage of participation in cancer clinical trails, especially minority groups.

Bottlenecks of Traditional Clinical Trials23andme's Innovative Solutions
Patient recruiting Social network
Cost of SNP scans May do cost-sharing with participants

Similar to the early days of sequencing and bioinformatics development, I would expect to see the industry driving the innovative applications, instead of the academics.

There are "2.0" hypes on everything recently, including the "Research 2.0" in the press release. Even though there are a lot of details to be worked out, I am still very positive on it.