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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, August 14, 2000

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Bioinform DNA Sciences Develops Two New Bioinformatics Tools for Genotyping
"LAST WEEK DNA Sciences announced plans to become a major force in the genomics sector by establishing a facility that will eventually identify one million genotypes a day. The company, which is backed by such industry icons and financiers as James Watson, Jim Clark, and George Soros, plans to use the information it generates from the 50,000 to 100,000 DNA donors it hopes to enlist to create better diagnostic methodologies.

But the Mountain View, Calif., upstart won’t be doing any of this with prepackaged bioinformatics tools. Instead, DNA Sciences will store, manage, and mine SNP data using software the company has developed in-house.

“You cannot buy off-the-shelf software that solves these problems and I think every company that does genetics has built their own software,” said DNA Sciences’ CEO Hugh Rienhoff."
redux [08.01.00]
The New York Times Company Seeking Donors of DNA for a 'Gene Trust'
[requires 'free' registration]
"Wanted: your genes.

A California start-up called DNA Sciences is introducing a Web site today that will recruit people to donate their DNA to help find genes that cause disease. The company, which has James D. Watson, a discoverer of the DNA double helix, as a director and James H. Clark, Netscape's founder, as an investor, hopes to get 50,000 to 100,000 people to contribute to its "gene trust" by appealing to their altruism."

"Under DNA Sciences' program, volunteers answer on-line questionnaires about their medical history, and their family's. The company will then send someone to their homes or offices to collect blood samples. Healtheon/WebMD, the medical Web site, owns a stake in DNA Sciences and will be used to help recruit patients.

Donors will not be paid, as is true with the other companies as well."
redux [07.19.00]
Individual.Com Healtheon/WebMD (HLTH) and Netscape (NSCP) Founder Clark
"Clark is the only person in history to have guided three companies from inception to becoming public companies with more than one billion in market cap each. In addition to privately held Shutterfly and, Jim is currently hard at work on his sixth startup: DNA Sciences."

"DNA Sciences is focused on exploiting the genome information and specifically finding the genotypes variations in genes that give rise to the genes that are associated with certain diseases. The variations in those genes that give rise to variance of that disease and treatment for that disease so the company is heavily focused on gene applications in the genome area."

"Healtheon was driven four or five years ago when I started the company in attempt to try to bring the internet to what I thought was the most inefficient industry in the world, the U.S. Healthcare system. I am still positive and bullish about the company's future. In the case of DNA Sciences it was more because I think it is more immediate. It has a tremendous potential. I put the two companies together and WebMD has a lot of disease affinity groups, if you will. People with breast cancer, prostate cancer, hepatitis, a variety of ailments and we can collect blood samples from people in the groups and identify genes and put them in a specific category to see what the best treatment is."

redux [06.17.00]
Stanford Medical Informatics Preprint Archive Bioinformatics in Support of Molecular Medicine
"Basic biological science has always had an impact on clinical medicine (and clinical medical information systems), and is creating a new generation of epidemiologic, diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment modalities. Bioinformatics efforts that appear to be wholly geared towards basic science are likely to become relevant to clinical informatics in the coming decade. For example, DNA sequence information and sequence annotations will appear in the medical chart with increasing frequency. The algorithms developed for research in bioinformatics will soon become part of clinical information systems. In this paper, I briefly review the intellectual roots of bioinformatics and how the field has evolved in the last few years. Fortunately, a core set of scientific paradigms have provided a focus to the field. Even in this short period, however, there has been a change in the nature of the questions being asked and the types of experiments being attempted. These changes are consistently leading bioinformatics towards problems of clinical relevance. Some molecular biology information systems already have important clinical implications. I will discuss the differences in the culture and approach to science of clinical informatics and bioinformatics, but will argue that the two disciplines share important intellectual challenges which make them very closely allied fields (despite the cultural differences). Finally, I will identify a few areas common to both disciplines where developments in one field may help catalyze faster progress in the other. For example, useful database integration technologies have (arguably) matured more rapidly within bioinformatics than in clinical informatics. At the same time, clinical informatics embraced the idea of controlled terminologies relatively early, and offers lessons to those in bioinformatics attempting similar tasks."

redux [05.15.00]
The New York Times Who Owns Your Genes?
[requires 'free' registration]
""I just wanted to do something good," Mr. Fuchs said. "But once money came into the picture, why not have it be shared with me?"

These days more and more patients are asking the same question. Laboratories offer tests for more than 700 human genes, with more being discovered almost daily. And, for almost every gene, some medical institution or some company owns a patent on its use.

"The value of patients' tissues has potentially gone up enormously," said Dr. Barry Eisenstein, the vice president for science and technology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. But, Dr. Eisenstein said, patients whose cells provided the genes that have been patented are almost never compensated. "

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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