Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

Siren Interactive Brings together Global Genes, MIT, and Bestselling Author And Geneticist to Hack a Diagnosis Tool for Rare Diseases

MIT's H@cking Medicine Program Will Deliver Technology Platform for Global Genes™ to Provide Novel Tools to Help Physicians Speed Diagnosis of Rare Disease Patients

CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Diagnosis is one of the most challenging problems faced by rare disease patients and caregivers. The Shire Rare Disease Impact Report found that it takes an average of 7.6 years for rare disease patients in the US to receive a proper diagnosis, with 2-3 misdiagnoses along the way. One reason is that, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates, only 500 of the 7,000 rare diseases are likely to be in a physician's repertoire for diagnosis.

Author and geneticist Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD will be part of an unprecedented collaboration to create an open source solution that will help doctors save lives at Healthcare's Grand HackFest with H@cking Medicine at MIT on March 14-16. The hackathon is the final push that will follow more than seven years of research and investments by Dr. Moalem to develop an inexpensive facial recognition tool for genetic and congenital disorders by leveraging technology developed for the security industry. This disruptive technology may provide a way to help physicians screen for rare genetic conditions that would otherwise be missed.

"Right now the tool does only relative facial comparisons," Moalem explains. "I know it can do so much more and this hackathon will be what we need to take it to the next level—and ideally, arm doctors with crucial knowledge to help patients."

The hackathon is scheduled for March 14-16 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Staged by MIT and the Kauffman Foundation, the event brings together teams of engineers, entrepreneurs, designers, patients, and healthcare professionals to develop creative solutions and innovative breakthroughs in various tracks over the course of one weekend.

"The goal is to create an environment with enough support where these teams (usually pitched by clinicians) can really dive deep into the problems in healthcare, be matched with the right innovative people who provide solutions, and then work on the solution enough to have a product to demo at the end," explains Andrea Ippolito, co-leader of MIT H@cking Medicine.

The rare disease track of the hackathon emerged from a collaboration between Dr. Moalem and Wendy White, a rare disease caregiver and founder of Siren Interactive, a relationship marketing agency specializing in orphan drugs and rare diseases. They are partnering with the Global Genes Project, a leading rare disease patient advocacy organization, which will provide the resulting Recognyz software application to healthcare professionals.

According to White, "It's not realistic to expect physicians to be highly educated about 7000 different diseases–most of which they will never see in their practice.  I can tell you as a rare disease caregiver that leveraging technology in this way will be a huge leap forward in getting a timely and accurate diagnosis and, for some patients, more effective treatment."

Cross-functional teams will compete over the course of 3 days to refine Moalem's rare disease diagnosis software and the winning team will receive funding for their approach. Moalem is donating his Recognyz patents to Global Genes so the tool can be offered free of charge to physicians.

"We are honored to be a strategic partner in this opportunity to offer a potentially game changing new tool to physicians," commented Nicole Boice, president and founder of Global Genes. "Providing it at little or no cost for greater adoption and increased patient access is even more appealing."

For information about the rare disease hackathon, contact: Ayesha N. Khalid, MD, 1-503-789-2203.

For more facts on rare disease diagnosis, view and share Siren's infographic, Journey into the Unknown, The Search for a Rare Diagnosis.

About Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
Sharon Moalem MD, PhD, is a physician, scientist, and inventor. He has been researching rare disorders for the last 15 years working to find novel treatments for orphan diseases. Dr. Moalem is also a NYT bestselling author and his highly anticipated third book, Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives, and Our Lives Change Our Genes, demonstrates what rare genetic conditions can teach us about our health and wellbeing.

He is also the founder of two biotechnology companies and is the recipient of 20 patents for his inventions in biotechnology and human health. Dr. Moalem's scientific work, based upon using rare conditions as a template to understand more common conditions led to the discovery of Siderocillin, a new antibiotic that specifically targets so called 'superbugs' or multiresistant microbes that have increasingly become a serious threat to our health.

His current invention, a mobile application called Recogynz, was developed to provide an accessible tool to assist healthcare practitioners in the identification of facial features that are associated with rare disorders. The desire to create a mobile medical application, that could help in the detection of rare disorders, was rooted in the desire to reduce the time to diagnosis and in so doing improve health outcomes.

About Siren Interactive
Siren Interactive is a rare disease relationship marketing agency with unmatched expertise in addressing the challenges and unmet needs of patients, caregivers, and physicians dealing with rare disorders. For more than 14 years, across more than 30 different disease states, we've had 1 focus: Finding rare disease patients and connecting them to our clients' brands. As trailblazers in recognizing that patient-driven decision making is central to successful orphan drug commercialization, we are constantly innovating to meet patients and caregivers where they live. To learn more about our proprietary approaches to building trust relationships with rare disease stakeholders visit

About Global Genes
Global Genes is a leading rare and genetic disease patient advocacy organization.The organization's mission is to 'Eliminate the Challenges of Rare Disease' by equipping patients to become successful advocates, and through education and empowerment, become 'activists' for their disease.  Global Genes does this through a growing portfolio of educational tools and resources, events, building out critical connections and funding innovations in science and technology that will impact patients within their lifetime.  Recognized worldwide by the Blue Denim Genes Ribbon™, Global Genes unites experts, advocates and patients of all ages to stand together in hope for treatments and cures for the estimated 7,000 rare and genetic diseases that impact approximately 30 million Americans and over 250 million people worldwide. For more information about Global Genes™, please visit the following links:



Twitter: @GlobalGenes -

About MIT H@cking Medicine
Mentored by Entrepreneur in Residence and Senior Faculty member Zen Chu, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) H@cking Medicine's mission is to create an ecosystem at MIT, hosting the Boston medical community and beyond to teach engineers, entrepreneurs, clinicians, and designers the skills necessary to launch disruptive healthcare businesses.  Healthcare needs Hackers—clever innovators to re-architect healthcare systems and create new products and services to impact cost and quality. Some areas of healthcare are not hackable and must prove efficacy down a traditional plodding path. However, health professionals and engineers can accelerate medical innovation across many diseases and institutions by applying techniques from high technology to healthcare. Borrowing philosophies from Silicon Valley and MIT for rapid product design, lean startup methodologies, workflow re-engineering, novel data collection, big data analysis, and info publishing can have powerful effects in healthcare.

SOURCE Global Genes

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.