Nearly one in six people worldwide needlessly suffer from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), yet a tremendous need for research and development of new products to treat and protect against these debilitating diseases still exists.  But a recently-launched crowd funding campaign led by Northeastern University’s Professor Michael Pollastri could pave the way for a novel data sharing platform aimed at accelerating new drug discovery for NTDs.

Improving Collaborations for Neglected Tropical Diseases from Microryza on Vimeo.

In just 60 days, Michael Pollastri hopes to raise $25,000 to develop a platform for researchers to share drug discovery data. This platform aims to reduce the duplication that often happens in drug discovery, so that much needed drugs can be developed faster and more efficiently delivered to the people who need them most.

As stated on Pollastri’s project website, “We know this platform will not only encourage sharing amongst leading researchers in the area of NTD drug discovery, but also more quickly bring drugs to market that could cure these infections.”

According to Pollastri, data sharing for NTDs can uncover new opportunities for collaboration -- which can lead to new funding proposals. Additionally, Pollastri and the Laboratory for Neglected Disease Discovery aim to gain higher visibility for NTDs by regularly communicating the progress of the Open Source effort to key stakeholders in NTD drug discovery.

Now how exactly will the $25,000 be used? The money will cover the costs of the database development, provide seed funding for key laboratory experiments and will help get the word out through publications, social media and networking.

If all goes as planned, the platform will launch in December 2013 and the NTD community will have a new tool to help advance its important work.

For more information on the crowd funding campaign and to donate to the project, click here. And for more information on the proposed data sharing platform, click here

Photo courtesy of Northeastern University.