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Brokering Disease Databases

Cancer foundations and patient groups are developing disease DNA databases that they hope will lead to better treatments, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for example, is to embark on a three-year, $8.2 million project in conjunction with Oregon Health Sciences University, Illumina, and Intel to develop a database of genetic information from 900 acute myeloid leukemia patients, the Journal says. Such data will then be made available to companies looking to test drugs against certain targets and to help initiate clinical trials.

"We're talking about an aggressive timeline for moving this data into the clinic," OHSU's Brian Druker tells the Journal.

Similar efforts are underway by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

A foundation can act as an "honest broker" with "the influence and the clout" to power such work, George Mulligan, the director of translation medicine at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, tells the Journal.