Cambridge, 11 April 2016 ... A newly published research paper in PLoS Biology calls for improved data sharing to improve genomic research.
PLoS Biology: DNAdigest and Repositive: Connecting the World of Genomic Data, Kovalevskaya et al
The paper from DNADigest, a not for profit organisation promoting best practices for data sharing in genomics, and Repositive, a software company developing novel tools to improve access to human genomic research data, describes how human genetics research and promises of precision medicine are impeded by the difficulty in finding and accessing data across research organisations.
The paper describes a range of benefits from improving access to public data and sharing of data with research peers, including improved transparency and reproducibility of data, particularly important when developing new treatments. In addition, availability of more complimentary and reference datasets will enable early validation of results, saving time and resources and reducing duplication of efforts.
In addition to improving research, better access to data could help patients and clinicians directly through the development of improved treatments and medicines. In particular this could help with tackling complex and multi-factorial diseases such as cancer and the many individual rare diseases.
Fiona Nielsen, CEO of DNADigest and Repositive said:
“The increased data availability and accessibility is key to make breakthroughs in precision medicine and companion diagnostics. Medical research in genomics requires both specificity and sensitivity which is only possible by accessing and comparing large volumes of data. Easier data access will accelerate research and lower costs of making new discoveries, which will provide benefits for both clinicians and patients in the form of new and better treatments.”
Since its formation, Repositive has made significant progress in improving access to human genomic data. It has secured partnerships with Xpressomics, and the BGI supported GigaScience, and through its platform, researchers can now access more than 42,000 datasets for human genomic research. The company has also recently secured a fundraising round of £500,000, which will be used to develop the Repositive platform for enterprise users and expand the range of services currently available.