Biogen, Others Working with ACP to Analyze and Use MS Data to Advance Research

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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BC Platforms announced that Biogen and the Accelerated Cure Project (ACP) will use its platform to advance research in multiple sclerosis (MS) by bringing data collected through clinical trials, biobanks and the like directly to researchers and other experts in the field.

Microsoft is also a project partner, provide the infrastructure for indexing and accessing the information worldwide through its Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

All three companies and the nonprofit ACP are members of the Open Biobank Research Enhancement Alliance (OBREA), launched by BC Platforms — genomic data management and analysis solutions company — to connect MS data with technology leaders and researchers.

“We are pleased that our data management and analytics platform is being used to better understand a disabling and unpredictable disease such as multiple sclerosis, the incidence of which has been increasing in recent years,” Tero Silvola, CEO of BC Platforms, said in a press release. “Access to large scale datasets with both genetic and clinical data will enable researchers to identify and interpret genetic variations and support insights for preventing and treating MS.”

ACP, founded by MS patients, has a broad collection of detailed clinical, genomic and phenotypical data from patients. Its goal is to curate these data with BC Platform’s BCRQUEST.COM and help researchers worldwide use this resource in an efficient and simplified way. Individual identities are removed from such data.

BCRQUEST.COM can enable analysis of combined data to speed collaboration between biobanks and MS researchers.

“Hundreds of genetic variants have been associated with MS, but their functional relevance is still unclear. We still have considerable work to do to understand how genetic variations influence susceptibility to MS, the timing of symptom onset, disease progression, and treatment response,” said Karol Estrada, associate director of statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology at Biogen.

“By combining Biogen’s expertise in neurological diseases with advanced cloud and genomic data management and analytic capabilities, we can improve our knowledge of how genetic variations impact disease pathophysiology,” Estrada added.

ACP invests in projects and collaborations that enhance or increase access to data or to resources in the MS community. The Massachusetts-based nonprofit launched in October 2016 a project with the support of PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) to get more African-Americans and other minority populations into clinical trials evaluating new treatments for MS.

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