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Interphex FasterCures Keynote Speaker Stresses Communication and Collaboration
Multimedia has extended its grasp to almost every corner of the world. But onearea sorely lacking an organized network of communication is the drug developmentindustry, noted Interphex Opening Keynote Speaker Greg Simon, president of FasterCures (Washington, DC, www.fastercures.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated toidentifying and implementing global solutions to speed the discovery and developmentof new treatments for diseases.
According to Simon, researchers working to find innovative new drug therapies face three barriers: funding for new projects is difficult to achieve; there is little exchange of data among researchers and across companies and institutions; and information about failures (as opposed to only successes) is not readily available. “It sounds simple, but collaboration is the hardest part,” said Simon.
To address these issues, Simon envisions a network for sharing information about clinical trials and research. Such collaboration would include an electronic medical records database, a bio-repository for tissue and blood, and a network of shared information and data from research projects. The platform would allow researchers to ask others, “What have you learned? What have you solved that can help me?” he said. Integrated information would accelerate new treatments development and enable more cost-effective and easier clinical trials, predicts Simon.
Responding to questions about how such a system would violate patient privacy and could lead to discrimination from insurance companies and employers, Simon argued many patients with terminal diseases are eager to share information about their illness and its treatment results. “[Privacy] is an issue, but not a problem. The problem is the diseases,” he said.