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As Michael J. Fox Returns to Primetime, His Research Foundation Urgently Pursues the Cure for Parkinson’s

Last month, Michael J. Fox returned to television as the star of his own sitcom after more than two decades living with Parkinson’s disease. Fox’s decision to return to primetime has injected Parkinson’s into the national conversation — a conversation already transformed by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), which the actor launched in 2000 with the exclusive goal of funding research to speed a cure for the disease.

Syapse Joins Free the Data! Initiative and Provides Software to Power Participant-centric Hereditary Gene Mutation Database

Syapse, the leader in software for bringing omics into routine medical use, announced that it has joined the Free the Data! initiative. This consortium of policy makers, advocacy organizations, individuals, academic centers, and industry aims to fill the public information gap caused by the lack of available genetic information for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and plans to expand to provide other types of genetic information in an open, searchable database.

Syapse will provide the software infrastructure for the Free the Data! initiative, enabling powerful data mining, visualization, and reporting. Participants will be able to visualize their own variations and clinical data in comparison to those already in the database, while clinicians will be able to utilize variant interpretation in medical interactions. Researchers, industry, and others can utilize Syapse data mining tools to interrogate the variants, interpretation, and evidence, along with clinical data submitted by participants. Participants will have full control over data sharing and privacy preferences of the data they contribute. The campaign shares all variants with ClinVar, the National Institutes of Health public database, unless the participant dictates otherwise.

“Despite national attention on the patentability of human genes, a ruling against gene patentability doesn’t immediately provide broad access to BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants or place them in a public database that will allow for better diagnosis and care,” said Sharon F. Terry, M.A., president and CEO of Genetic Alliance. “Syapse provides the best platform for integrating complex genomics and clinical data from disparate sources, and reporting it in a dynamic and relevant interface to participants and clinicians. We are excited to be using Syapse software to enable all individuals to access genetic mutations and their clinical interpretations in order to improve care.”

“Syapse is pleased to join Genetic Alliance, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), InVitae Corporation, and advocates in the Free the Data! initiative to crowdsource the interpretation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants,” said Jonathan Hirsch, Founder & President of Syapse. “Syapse is committed to the free and open interpretation of the genome, but interpreting the genome requires a larger evidence base than any one entity can develop. Pooling genetic and clinical data will rapidly advance medical knowledge of clinically relevant genetic mutations, leading to more effective diagnosis, treatment, and cures.”

Individuals who have received genetic testing and who are interested in participating are invited to go to the Free The Data! project web site at www.free-the-data.org, and follow the instructions to upload test results, set privacy and sharing settings, and answer a brief questionnaire.

Individuals may also send a scan or PDF of the test report form with the personal identifying information blocked to Genetic Alliance by email at freethedata@geneticalliance.org or by facsimile at 202.966.8553.

We encourage individuals, advocacy groups, research organizations, physicians, policy groups, professional societies and industry to join the cause. For more information, please visit free-the-data.org or contact: 202.966.5557 x201.

Source: Synapse

Critical Diagnostics Unveils its “Power of 2” Brand Campaign

Critical Diagnostics, a U.S.-based biomarker company focused on cardiovascular diseases, today announced it has launched its first U.S. branding campaign to showcase its cardiac biomarker, the Presage® ST2 Assay—which has been approved by the FDA for use as an aid in assessing the prognosis of patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure.

“We consider what we do partnering with healthcare professionals to offer patients hope for a better life,” notes David Geliebter, Chairman and CEO of Critical Diagnostics. “The ‘Power of 2,’ an obvious reference to the ‘2’ in ST2, denotes that valued relationship.”

Heart failure is a progressive disease in which the ability of the heart to provide needed cardiac output weakens, thus impeding the heart’s ability to pump enough blood to support the body’s metabolic demands. According to the American Heart Association, heart failure affects some 5.8 million Americans with 670,000 new diagnoses each year. The estimated direct and indirect cost of this condition in the US is $39.2 billion.

One of the ways that clinicians are improving the lives of heart failure patients, is through the use of cardiac biomarkers. ST2 has been shown to be prognostically meaningful in patients with chronic heart failure. With more accurate risk assessment physicians may make better treatment decisions resulting in improved patient outcomes and an overall reduction in healthcare expenditures.

Presage ST2 Assay levels are both independent and complimentary of the natriuretic peptide markers and not adversely affected by such confounding factors as age, gender, body mass index, atrial fibrillation, anemia and impaired renal function.

The branding campaign begins today, with a monthly ad that will run in Cardiovascular Business magazine, a leading news, business and technology magazine for cardiovascular medicine which reaches over 25,000 cardiovascular decision-makers. Copies of the first two ads can be found on this link: www.criticaldiagnostics.com/ad.

Source: Business Wire

The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Launches a Billion Dollar Challenge to Create the New Gold Standard for Cancer Care

Amidst the skirl of the pipes and a glistening 400-ounce bar of solid gold symbolizing a new gold standard in cancer care, yesterday the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation announced its new ‘BELIEVE IT!’ campaign — a BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE to accelerate Personalized Cancer Medicine at The Princess Margaret.

Cleveland HeartLab Launches “it” Campaign Raises Awareness of Inflammation Testing

Cleveland HeartLab Inc. (CHL) announced today the launch of a campaign to educate patients and health care professionals about the importance of “it,” or inflammation testing, in determining heart attack and stroke risk. CHL is a specialty clinical laboratory and cardiovascular disease management company focused on offering a robust menu of propriety diagnostic tests based on unique molecular biomarkers.