NAS Report Calls for Creation of a Biomedical Research and Patient Data Network

WASHINGTON — A new data network that integrates emerging research on the molecular makeup of diseases with clinical data on individual patients could drive the development of a more accurate classification of disease and ultimately enhance diagnosis and treatment, says a new report from the National Research Council.  The “new taxonomy” that emerges would define diseases by their underlying molecular causes and other factors in addition to their traditional physical signs and symptoms.  The report adds that the new data network could also improve biomedical research by enabling scientists to access patients’ information during treatment while still protecting their rights.  This would allow the marriage of molecular research and clinical data at the point of care, as opposed to research information continuing to reside primarily in academia.