FDA unveils open beta of precisionFDA


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Food and Drug Administration officials Tuesday launched the open beta version of a Web portal that they hope will eventually help make possible personalized treatments based on a patient’s genes, environment and lifestyle.

Called precisionFDA, the portal provides a space where researchers can collaborate to figure out best practices for compiling massive amounts of data from a patient’s DNA, a process known as next-generation sequencing. The agency launched the portal in “closed beta” last month.

“Through such collaboration we hope to improve the quality and accuracy of genomic tests – work that will ultimately benefit patients,” Taha Kass-Hout, FDA’s chief health informatics officer, and Elaine Johanson, precisionFDA project manager, wrote in a blog post announcing the launch.

According to FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren, precisionFDA users will have access to previously sequenced genomes — such as Genome in the Bottle developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology — that they can use to compare to other samples. She also said the platform will offer genome sequencing bioinformatics tools and other software apps.

“Users will also be able to compare their results to previously validated reference results as well as share their results with each other, track changes and obtain feedback,” she said.

PrecisionFDA is part of a larger push from the White House to promote its Precision Medicine Initiative.

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Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Departments, Food and Drug Administration