Sage commons and personalized medicine
Sage was created to facilitate research through opening up genetic, clinical and other sorts of data as much as possible, or as the web site puts it, to address “the acute need for a new approach to using complex genetic information for drug development.” Stephen Friend has previously been at Rosetta and Merck and among the current data sets in the Sage Repository, there are several interesting ones, containing both genetic and phenotypic information, that have been used in high-profile Merck/Rosetta-related papers by Eric Schadt and others.
However, the Sage project is not only about providing data; it’s also about disease network modeling (I’m guessing both on the gene and protein levels), a goal that Friend is clearly serious about. Another interesting thing is that Sage has Jeff Hammerbacher – the whiz-kid who built up Facebook’s IT platform – on its board of directors. And he’s not there as a token big data guy – Friend told me that Hammerbacher is actively involved in developing Sage’s IT infrastructure. I think it’s great to have data scientists working on biological problems. As Hilary Mason said on the Strata conference, we have enough ad optimization solutions now – let’s do something different!
I hadn’t looked at Sage for a while and was pleasantly surprised to learn they have a nice Tumblr site which linked to interesting content such as this Scientific American Pathways compilation of good articles about data, medicine and personalization and the RNA game EteRNA, which is something on the lines of the Phylo and FoldIt games previously covered on this blog. I also found the Personalized Health Manifesto, written by David Ewing Duncan and underwritten by people like Stephen Friend, George Church, Eric Schadt, Atul Butte, Misha Angrist and many others. I haven’t read it yet but certainly aim to do so as soon as possible.