In May 2017, The tranSMART Foundation and i2b2 Foundation merged to create a single organization to advance the field of precision medicine. Both leading open-source foundations in the healthcare and translational research space, together as one organization they are facilitating further development and making precision medicine a reality.
The tranSMART Foundation, originally established in 2013 by the Pistoia Alliance, University of Michigan, Imperial College London, among others, was a non-profit organization providing a global, open-source, open-data knowledge management platform for scientists at more than 300 industry and academic institutions. Its data-sharing and analysis platform has enabled organizations around the world to share pre-competitive data in a way that saves money and time in translating research findings into new therapies and diagnostic tools.
i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) Foundation, was founded in 2005 as an NIH-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing at Harvard medical School, and was later based at Partners HealthCare System. The i2b2 Foundation developed a scalable informatics framework that has enabled clinical researchers to use existing clinical data for discovery research and, when combined with IRB-approved genomic data, facilitates the design of targeted therapies for individual patients with diseases having genetic origins. The platform has been internationally adopted by over 200 hospitals and research centers, including the CTSA network, academic health centers and industry.
Today, the i2b2 tranSMART Foundation is integrating its two leading information and analysis platforms that are used in the clinical research and translational science domains to advance precision medicine around the globe.
Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) is an NIH-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing (NCBC) based at Partners HealthCare System in Boston, Mass. Established in 2004 in response to an NIH Roadmap Initiative RFA, this NCBC is one of four national centers awarded in this first competition (http://www.bisti.nih.gov/ncbc/); currently there are seven NCBCs. One of 12 specific initiatives in the New Pathways to Discovery Cluster, the NCBCs will initiate the development of a national computational infrastructure for biomedical computing. The NCBCs and related R01s constitute the National Program of Excellence in Biomedical Computing.
The i2b2 Center, led by Director Isaac Kohane, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School at Children’s Hospital Boston, is comprised of six cores involving investigators from the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, MIT, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. This Center is funded under a Cooperative agreement with the National Institutes of Health.
The i2b2 Center is developing a scalable computational framework to address the bottleneck limiting the translation of genomic findings and hypotheses in model systems relevant to human health. New computational paradigms (Core 1) and methodologies (Cores 3) are being developed and tested in several diseases (airways disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, Huntington’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, major depressive disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis) (Core 2 Driving Biological Projects).
The i2b2 Center (Core 4) offers a Summer Institute in Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics for qualified undergraduate students, supports an Academic Users’ Group of over 250 members, sponsors annual Shared Tasks for Challenges in Natural Language Processing for Clinical Data, distributes an NLP DataSet for research purpose, and sponsors regular Symposia and Workshops for the community.
The initial version of tranSMART’s data management system was developed in 2009 by scientists at Johnson & Johnson and Recombinant Data Corporation. It was used initially by pharmaceutical researchers in Johnson & Johnson’s Centocor R&D division. Since then, more than 100 other corporate, non-profit, academic, patient advocacy and government organizations have joined the tranSMART community.
Established in 2013, the tranSMART Foundation is a public-private partnership – the result of collaborations between scientists in the United States and the European Union. Founding partners include the University of Michigan, the Pistoia Alliance and Imperial College London.
The tranSMART Foundation will coordinate development of the next generation of tranSMART, which is being developed in collaboration with developers and users of eTRIKS and TraIT – two informatics/analytics knowledge management systems currently under development and supported by major European translational research initiatives. TraIT and eTRIKS are based on the tranSMART platform. The result will be one global informatics-based analysis and pre-competitive data-sharing platform for clinical and translational research.
For information: eTRIKS and the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
For information: TraIT and the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM), a public-private partnership in the Netherlands