Ganging Up on Alzheimer’s
Posted on Aug 13, 2010
A decision by scientists back in 2003 to share their findings on Alzheimer’s research has led to a “wealth of recent scientific papers” and important advances in moving to understand the disease and develop drugs to combat it.
Historically, medical researchers, drug companies and academia have jealously guarded their work. The Alzheimer’s collaborative project has already opened the door to a similar effort against Parkinson’s disease. —JCL
The New York Times:
The key to the Alzheimer’s project was an agreement as ambitious as its goal: not just to raise money, not just to do research on a vast scale, but also to share all the data, making every single finding public immediately, available to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world.
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.
“It was unbelievable,” said Dr. John Q. Trojanowski, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s not science the way most of us have practiced it in our careers. But we all realized that we would never get biomarkers unless all of us parked our egos and intellectual-property noses outside the door and agreed that all of our data would be public immediately.”
Probing Alzheimer’s: An MRI of a human brain with Alzheimer’s, left, and a normal brain, right.