23andMe launched its new Genotyping Services for Research (GSR) platform, providing scientists with an end-to-end service to incorporate genetic information into their studies.
"The 23andMe GSR platform simplifies the genotyping process and allows any researcher with an IRB-approved study to incorporate genetics into their research, regardless of their own genetics expertise," said Ruby Gadelrab, 23andMe's vice president of commercial marketing. "Typically, research studies don't return any data to the participants. We've enabled researchers to give results back to participants in the form of the 23andMe experience, which we believe is a huge advantage in recruiting. This is the way research studies of the future will be conducted, as evidenced by the desire of those leading the Precision Medicine Initiative to return results to participants."
23andMe's GSR platform is for researchers recruiting participants for prospective studies and looking to generate genetic information from those cohorts. Researchers will be able to use 23andMe's GSR platform to track and manage their projects, and download data in real-time as samples are genotyped through the new 23andMe Researcher Dashboard. When paired with 23andMe's mobile API for ResearchKit, researchers will have the ability to create apps to collect digital phenotypes on smartphones to study alongside genetic information.
The end-to-end service includes non-invasive sample collection, DNA extraction, genotyping (arrays, reagents and sample processing), data and project tracking for researchers, and return of 23andMe reports to participants.
The GSR platform also simplifies the recruiting process, offering non-invasive sample collection through a simple saliva kit, and the ability to recruit nationally by shipping the 23andMe kit directly to participants' homes.
Those who have signed on to pilot the GSR platform prior to today's full launch are conducting studies as varied as smoking cessation, cognitive impairment in glioma patients, as well as addictions and psychiatric disorders. The list of current collaborators includes researchers at the University of California, San Diego; the University of Southern California; andWashington University in St. Louis, among others.
"Partnering with 23andMe permits us to both accelerate the pace of our work and reduce infrastructure costs. Furthermore, it allows us to give back to our study participants who are interested in their genetic ancestry and health risks. It's a real 'win-win' for us." James MacKillop, PhD, Director, Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, McMaster University/St. Joseph'sHealthcare Hamilton.
"The GSR platform will now allow us to collect genetic information directly from patients participating in medical research studies that use mobile technology. We're hopeful this data can accelerate breakthrough discoveries for complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis," said Daniel Pelletier, MD, vice chair of research, Department of Neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.