A group of scientists has called for the use of a ‘bigger data’ approach to tackling Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and set out some recommendations to achieve this. The paper, published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, cites IMI’s Alzheimer’s projects as examples of good practice. Recent decades have seen hundreds of clinical trials of Alzheimer’s treatments end in failure. In the paper, the authors argue that one reason for this is the lack of ‘data density’; put simply, there are many Alzheimer’s disease databases spread across a wide range of organisations. The group’s first recommendation is to create a master global Alzheimer’s disease data repository which would link up all the best patient-level data currently available. They point to IMI’s work through EPAD, ROADMAP and AETIONOMY as examples of what can be done and achieved by linking up data. Other recommendations made by the group are:
- leverage lessons from the cancer community;
- create a master bibliometric resource for neurodegenerative diseases;
- greatly increase the focus on social determinants of health;
- invest further in digital health opportunities in clinical trials;
- increase the use of pragmatic clinical design approaches.
The authors conclude: ‘Building data density and making it available to the AD research, treatment, advocacy and patient communities could be accomplished through a comprehensive yet focused ‘bigger’ data strategy.’