The FDA’s scientists have developed an online research portal, precisionFDA, as part of a Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). The goal of the PMI is to help translate scientific knowledge about genomics into clinical care.
As part of this initiative, precisionFDA’s task is to advance the use of a core technology behind the PMI known as ‘next generation sequencing’ (NGS), which is capable of mapping the entire human genome.
In a recent FDA blog post, precisionFDA representatives Zivana Tezak, Ph.D., Associate Director for Science and Technology at FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and Elaine Johanson, precisionFDA Project Manager and Deputy Director of FDA’s Office of Health Informatics, described provision of an open source cloud-based space where data, ideas, and methodologies can be shared and more than 1,600 current participants, including researchers, test developers, industry, academics, statisticians, and clinicians, can collaborate.
Contests have been designed to encourage creative thinking by participants who work toward providing answers to NGS questions about data, analytics, and sequencing tools.
The current contest challenge, announced on October 3rd, 2016 and open to members until October 28th, 2016, is an “App-a-Thon,” which invites software developers to get together with their peers, collaborators, and friends to add NGS software apps to the precisionFDA app library.
These apps are intended to be executable commands using the Linux operating system that are “wrapped” around NGS software. Apps can be existing, modified, or completely new. Such apps could be used for performing simulations, benchmarking, data integration, mapping portions of the genome, or identifying genetic variants.
If you would like to participate, the precisionFDA can help you can set up your own local App-a-Thon. The FDA provides the framework and all the materials, storage, and compute capacity to hold the App-a-Thon on precisionFDA as well as an ‘App-a-Thon in a Box’ toolkit‘, which includes video and results from a precisionFDA App-a-Thon held at Stanford University.
Results of this challenge are planned for presentation November 14th, 2016 at the World Precision Medicine Congress in Washington D.C. by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf for the benefit of the global NGS community and the patients they serve.
For additional information or to review the FDA blog post, visit: http://tinyurl.com/fda-app-a-thon.