Drawing on a landscape analysis of existing data-sharing initiatives, in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders, and public deliberations with community advisory panels across the U.S., we describe features of the evolving medical information commons. We identify participant-centricity and trustworthiness as the most important features of an MIC and discuss the implications for those seeking to create a sustainable, useful, and widely available collection of linked resources for research and other purposes.
With the human genome mapped, and with the mapping of more than one hundred animal genomes in progress, the amount of genetic data available is increasing exponentially. This exponential increase in data is having an immediate impact on the process of drug development. By using techniques of information technology to manipulate data regarding the genes, proteins, and biochemical pathways associated with various diseases, scientists are beginning to be able to design drugs in a systematic fashion. In the context of any (...) given disease, scientists look to see whether a gene, a protein for which the gene codes, or another protein in the relevant biochemical pathway could be the “target” biological molecule, the “knocking out” of which would halt or slow the disease's progression. Once a target molecule has been identified and characterized structurally, drug therapies that would be likely to knock out this target can be identified and tested systematically. The merger of information technology and genetic technology has changed the process of pharmaceutical development so much that a new term—bioinformatics—has been coined to describe this new approach to such development. (shrink)