Patients and researchers collaborate to find medical cures

July 23, 2008 | Source: KurzweilAI

Patients suffering with the daily pain of medical conditions now have a place to go share information and resources with other patients and researchers.

CureTogether, a San Mateo, CA startup, plans to announce Thursday a free health research service to bring together patients and researchers to make discoveries in a new, collaborative way.

The first conditions being studied are migraine, endometriosis, and vulvodynia; each affect more than five million Americans. Patients will also be able to share ideas and provide their anonymous medical data to an aggregate database available “open source” to any researcher in the world to study.

“We chose these conditions because they are underfunded, involve daily pain, and have personal meaning for us,” said co-founder Alexandra Carmichael. “We saw the suffering of our close family and friends with these chronic conditions, and we wanted to do something to help.” So they partnered with the Chandran Family Foundation for Healthcare Research and Education and researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We may expand to other conditions if enough patients come together to request it,” she added.

CureTogether’s service reflects an emerging social networking trend to help patients share and understand their data, pioneered by companies like 23andMe, a web-based service that helps you read and understand your DNA; and PatientsLikeMe, which enables people with various diseases to share information about symptoms and treatments.

See also:

Social Networking Hits the Genome

Science 2.0 — Is Open Access Science the Future?