Now You Can Help The Battle Against Parkinson’s Too
You can be at the forefront of cancer and disease research without even leaving your home. How? You can thank the partnership of GlaxoSmithKline and 23andMe. According to an NBC article titled, Drug giant Glaxo teams up with DNA testing company 23andMe, individuals who take the saliva DNA tests from 23andMe now have the option to participate in scientific research; they are asked for the consent of their DNA to be used by Glaxo in order to research and design new drugs.
I believe the opportunity for everyday citizens to take a role in the advancement of the medical field is empowering for not only the industry, but for humanity. Cancer, disease, and disorders are all very real crises. In one way or another, we are all bound to these illnesses whether it be because a parent is battling breast cancer or because a colleague has just been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Allowing anyone with the means to be able to contribute to a discipline as vast and unknown as the medical field definitely provides a glimmer of hope for battling diseases as monstrous and ugly as Parkinson’s and HIV/AIDS.
As of now, the companies’ first project includes researching new drugs to treat Parkinson’s, based on the LRRK2 gene mutated in some Parkinson’s patients. Regardless of the potential breakthroughs this new partnership can endorse, a challenge remains. A huge obstacle for all genetics research is getting enough individuals willing to donate their DNA. Even though 23andMe already has many customers who have consented for research participation, the company still needs to ensure that customers — willing to aid research — remain.
In order to do this, I believe that 23andMe should reach out to their previous customers before their partnership with Glaxo solidified. Because of the experience with 23andMe, old patrons may have an inclination to help the company out with research. Also, if patrons discovered something life-changing in their genome after it was sequenced, they may see the need to support research on diseases dubbed incurable and very lethal. To sustain supporters of drug research and design, 23andMe as well as Glaxo should make it a priority to update research and the design progress with those who donate their DNA. Patrons have the right to know exactly what their information as personal as DNA is being used for. By keeping close contact with the DNA hosts, the company guarantees compliance as well as interest in the research matter. When intrigue is established on such a ground-breaking effort, patrons of 23andMe are more likely to stay committed to the research endeavor and spread awareness about it. This may sustain or even increase the amount of DNA samples 23andMe and Glaxo have for further study, paving the way to a more secure and informed medical future.