data sharing


Father of Child with Rare Disease Says Science Equals Medicine

Matt Might came knocking on the door of genomic medicine out of pure necessity. After a four year diagnostic odyssey that led them to Duke University, Matt and his wife, Cristina, finally found out through exome sequencing that their son, Bertrand, was suffering from a rare disease known as NGLY1 deficiency. That was three years ago.

In today’s interview, we focus on what Matt did after he received this diagnosis. Through various means, mostly involving the internet, he has been able to connect with the parents of thirty seven other children with the same rare disease. As the group of patients grows, so do the options for studying the disease and for developing a therapy.

Since the president launched his Precision Medicine Initiative, we've heard from a new round of critics that genomics research just isn’t paying off. Matt’s story contradicts these criticisms.

In fact, he comes right out and says he’s on a campaign "to end the phrase, ‘non actionable.’” To Matt--who’s career has been in computer engineering--science is medicine. Matt’s connection with the rare disease community was kicked off with a personal blog he wrote that went viral, Hunting Down My Son’s Killer. Matt says with Google, blogging, and social media parents everywhere can do science. 

Prior to recording this interview, Matt was at the White House for a couple weeks helping out with the president’s new initiative. What is his take on that, and, as an outsider, what is the number one thing he would change about biomedical research?

A Call to Consumers to Lead the Shift in Healthcare: Sharon Terry, Genetic Alliance

One of those attending the recent White House gathering where Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative was a woman who has worked tirelessly as a patient advocate for over twenty years. She’s an award winning scientist and the CEO of the Genetic Alliance: Sharon Terry joins us to kick off a new series, Personalized Medicine and the Consumerization of Healthcare.

Sharon was advocating for the sharing of patient data long before it became fashionable. Recently chairing the Institute of Medicine’s workshop and consensus study on data sharing and clinical trials, Sharon says that there has been a shift on the topic and that we are finally saying how do we share, not do we share.

“My desire is that we consumers—patients, participants, public—whatever word you want to use—that we understand how much power we have to shift the paradigm. Other industries have shifted—music, publishing, banking—because consumers demanded certain things,” she says in today’s interview. "I think we may have to be in the same position in health and medicine. It may have to come from us more than anywhere else. And then economies will be built around that sharing that right now don’t exist."



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