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23andMe Partners with Personalized Rx Platform Developer on Parkinson's Project

BOSTON – Consumer genomics firm 23andMe has partnered with PatientsLikeMe, a company that facilitates the sharing of patient outcomes data, to conduct research on Parkinson's disease.

With access to PatientsLikeMe's community-based patient groups and its platform for collecting and sharing outcomes data, 23andMe plans to recruit 10,000 people for a large study on Parkinson's disease. The goal of 23andMe's Parkinson's disease study is to identify the genetic and environmental factors for the disease, as well as gauge the effectiveness of different treatments.

23andMe co-founder Linda Avey and PatientsLikeMe co-founder James Heywood are both speaking at the Consumer Genetics conference here today to discuss the collaboration.

23andMe last year launched a research initiative, called 23andWe, in an effort to improve quality of patient data that enter into its pharmacogenomic-based clinical trials. Through the research projects under 23andWe, the company aims to generate clinical data that help advance the development of tailored drugs and encourage regulators and medical groups to use genetic information in their medical decision making.

The Parkinson's disease study, inked though a partnership with the Parkinson's Institute of Sunnyvale, Calif., is the first project under the 23andWe effort. The project plans to use web-based communities, like those formed through PatientsLikeMe, to recruit patients for clinical research.

Under the Parkinson's disease collaboration, PatientsLikeMe will be extending the genetics phenotyping tools currently available to its ALS community to the Parkinson's community in July. Patients using PatientsLikeMe's community-based platform to share their own experiences of Parkinson's disease will be able to manually enter their genetic mutations and search for others who share the same mutations.

In turn, "the new features will help PatientsLikeMe researchers use new data to evaluate the effects of genetics on variation in the Parkinson's population," PatientsLikeMe said in a statement.

PatientsLikeMe provides an online forum for patients with illnesses, such as ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, HIV, and mood conditions, to share their experiences and provide researchers with real-world data on their diseases. The company aims to create the largest real-world disease information database to help hasten the development of personalized medicine.

A more detailed version of this article will appear in this week's issue of Pharmacogenomics Reporter.

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