DNAstack Partners with The Michael J. Fox Foundation and ASAP to Uncover the Roots of Parkinson’s Disease
June 25, 2024

The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative has collaborated with DNAstack, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Verily, and DataTecnica to launch the ASAP Collaborative Research Network Cloud. This platform, powered by DNAstack’s Omics AI, serves to unite data analysis efforts across the global research community and accelerate the path for a cure to Parkinson’s.

Aligning Science Across Parkinson's is a research initiative fostering collaboration and resources to better understand the underlying causes of Parkinson’s disease. ASAP’s Collaborative Research Network (CRN), implemented through The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), funds basic research to understand the structure and function of the nervous system and disease mechanisms that contribute to Parkinson’s disease. ASAP, MJFF, and DNAstack are aligned in their commitment to advance neuroscience research, and one facet of their efforts is providing academic and industry scientists with innovative tools. For the CRN Cloud specifically, this new tool allows the research community to access and analyze vast amounts of genomics and related health data.

quote Enabling AI-powered analyses across networks of federated data is fundamentally transforming how we approach research and accelerating our ability to understand and treat disease with molecular precision Marc Fiume, PhD. – CEO at DNAstack

Through the ASAP CRN Cloud, collaborators can quickly and easily connect, protect, share, and analyze data across geographical and digital borders. Each CRN research team contributing their data to the platform maintains ownership and control over the data they’ve connected, while approved users can easily discover and perform analyses across the network. The ASAP CRN Cloud is also interoperable with other cloud-based platforms, like the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2) and the Accelerating Medicines Program for Parkinson’s disease (AMP-PD), greatly extending the volume and diversity of data available to drive discoveries.

The ASAP CRN Cloud is powered by DNAstack’s Omics AI software suite which provides researchers with a new way of unveiling discoveries while simultaneously making it easier for data stewards to improve the accessibility of their datasets. Designed with open science, FAIR principles, and privacy in mind, Omics AI supports ASAP’s mission of accelerating the pace of discovery and informing the path to a cure for Parkinson’s disease through collaboration, research-enabling resources, and data sharing. By following a new paradigm of “data federation”, where researchers keep their data in place and allow for questions to be answered without moving data, Omics AI is setting a new standard for advanced genomics data analysis through next-generation, federated AI technology. This innovative approach extends a researcher's ability to uncover novel insights, paving the way for the development of improved treatments and therapies.

“Enabling AI-powered analyses across networks of federated data is fundamentally transforming how we approach research and accelerating our ability to understand and treat disease with molecular precision,” said Marc Fiume, CEO of DNAstack. “Our partnership with ASAP underscores the transformative potential of combining cutting-edge technology with pioneering open access data sharing, enabling the impact of patient-partnered research to go further, faster, and at a greater scale. We are also thrilled to support the vision of fellow Canadian Michael J. Fox through his foundation to drive progress in Parkinson’s research.”

In addition to utilizing Omics AI software to build the ASAP CRN Cloud, DNAstack also provided bioinformatics domain expertise to author and implement scalable end-to-end computational pipelines to harmonize the data. The output of this effort was a high quality postmortem-derived brain sequencing (PMDBS) dataset, which allows researchers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the neuropathological mechanisms contributing to Parkinson’s. New data will be uploaded to the ASAP CRN Cloud on an ongoing basis. Expected additions include new dataset collections containing mouse PMDBS, spatial transcriptomics, proteomics, human gut microbiome and human cerebral spinal fluid.

Read more about the collaboration on parkinsonsroadmap.org.

Request access to the ASAP CRN Cloud at cloud.parkinsonsroadmap.org.