Seven years ago, NIH, FDA, researchers from industry, academia, and some nonprofit groups got together to find biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease. Now, the New York Times' Gina Kolata says the collaboration has resulted in several papers on early diagnosis of Alzheimer's using PET scans and spinal fluid tests, and more than 100 drug studies in progress. The key to the project, Kolata says, is the data sharing aspect. The data the researchers gathered was free to anyone who wanted it. "No one would own the data. No one could submit patent applications, though private companies would ultimately profit from any drugs or imaging tests developed as a result of the effort," she writes. Though the researchers worried at first about how their data would be used, they realized they had no choice but to collaborate with as many people as possible in order to get any results. The collaboration is already serving as a model for similar efforts against Parkinson's disease, Kolata writes.
Data Sharing Works
Aug 13, 2010