Earlier this month our vice president of Research Partnerships Sohini Chowdhury presented at the Partnering for Cures meeting here in New York City on our Parkinson’s Data Challenge. In case you missed it, we asked researchers to compete for the best way to use a large collection of data gathered from smartphones. The winners proved that a “machine learning approach” could unveil clues to onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease within smartphone-collected data.
Our challenge is one of the examples Thomas Insel, PhD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health included in his blog on the FasterCures’ Partnering for Cures (P4C) meeting and his impressions of the “most innovative experiments being developed by disease advocacy groups.”
What made the P4C meeting so inspiring was the chance to witness some of the new models that are changing our assumptions about “who” will deliver new cures … Aside from the disease focus, the message was that when nonprofits and companies and academia and government agencies work together, good things can happen.
Using registries and sensors and crowd sourcing, patients are becoming drivers not just passengers on the research bus. The traditional model of government-funded research in academia followed by industry research to develop marketed treatments is being replaced by collaborations between nonprofits, academic scientists and biotech with a goal of delivering treatments more quickly for more people. Science has become global, slowed only by the rate of data sharing and access. Because time = lives, we need to go faster. Thankfully, there is a new generation with some fresh ideas.