There are countless genetic and medical research studies currently underway that are looking to provide a breakthrough in the way disease is managed and treated. The only problem is that scientists often can’t find genetic donors that can help their studies, resulting in many of them coming to a premature halt.
At the same time, there are many people interested in providing help for those studies, including their genetic material, but aren’t sure where to turn. One company has solved both sides of this dilemma – DNAsimple.
The concept is ingenious – DNAsimple will match people with research studies that are looking for people with specific DNA attributes. And those wanting to participate can provide the needed DNA and earn money at the same time.
It’s a genetic matchmaking service for the research world. Donors can contribute to ongoing studies and help to considerably speed up research. In fact, the company believes that their process will double the pace of genetic research, bringing cures and medical treatments to millions of people much earlier than otherwise possible.
The company is the brainchild of Founder and CEO Oliver Noel, who has been conducting developmental biology and biomedical science research for over eight years. He was an American Heart Association and National Institute of Health fellow and has been featured in the New York Daily News, CBS radio, and other national media outlets for his academic and entrepreneurial achievements. Mr. Noel holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular genetics.
Others on the DNAsimple team include Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, an American Cancer Society Research Professor, and Dr. Nathalia Glickman-Holtzman, PhD, an Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Director at the Center for Teaching and Learning at Queens College. Additional members include Genna Tatu, a student at George Washington University, and Suzanne Tullo, a student at Syracuse University.
People who want to participate don’t have to be sick or have a rare condition. In fact, researchers need people for control groups as well as those with differences across different ethnicities. Why DNA? By comparing the DNA of someone who doesn’t have a disease to that of someone who does, the difference in his or her DNA can explain why the disease occurs
Donors are notified every time they match a researcher’s request. The company keeps all DNA data private, and will never share a participant’s data without their permission.
All participants who are accepted by researchers are compensated, and all that’s required is a saliva sample collected in the privacy of the donor’s home. The donor uses a collection tube, often called a “spit tube” that is provided by DNAsimple and mails it back to the company. The current compensation for participating is $50, but that is expected to increase.