Interview with Marisa Nelson, 23andme
Joining us on the Spring Fling stage March 22nd is Marisa Nelson of 23andme. Marisa will be participating on the panel about the changing role of research and will share with us how 23andme is going beyond their standard genetic testing by engaging with unique patient groups and using the data collected to conduct rapid research.
Realizing the power of online communities and social media, 23andme began recruiting for studies in online spaces and working with existing patient advocacy groups and foundations. Once a group is formed, participants take the 23andme genetic test and then complete online surveys about their diagnosis, treatment, environment, etc. With this new approach they are able to easily gather large groups and see results. Fast.
In the interview you’ll hear Marisa discuss a study done with a group with Parkinson’s patients that was originally conducted offline, had a difficult time finding participants, and took years to find results. At 23andme, they were able to recruit 2,000 patients, replicate many of the results in just a six months, and identify two new genetic associations.
Not only is this approach working well for the researchers, but patients are seeing the benefits, too. In addition to the convenience of participating from home, patients are getting deeply involved in their care through the online community. As Marisa says, this process is truly evolving research by transitioning “from the human subject to people who have more ownership and engagement with their health…these studies offer both emotional & scientific support.”