Sunday, February 27, 2011

23andMe Sarcoma Community Reaches 500 - BeatSarcoma Founder shares her interest in the program

There is strength in numbers. 23andMe is well on its way to achieving the 1,000 person Sarcoma Community milestone. 
We have over 500 individuals who have joined our sarcoma group from all over the world and with ties to several different patient organizations. The potential of this community to make a difference in the understanding of sarcoma and the development of the effective therapies is enormous. The value in research comes from you, from individuals with sarcoma sharing with us your genetic information and survey responses. 

We need your help in spreading the word about our 23andMe Sarcoma Community. If you are part of any sarcoma online forums, advocacy groups, or social networking sites, please let your community know about our research efforts at 23andMe. The link to share Thank you!

Nathalie Criou, sarcoma survivor and founder of BeatSarcoma, has been instrumental in the 23andMe Sarcoma Community outreach effort. Please read on to learn more about Nathalie's story:

I was diagnosed with sarcoma in late 2006, and spent most of 2007 in treatment for the disease. After my diagnosis, I was struck by how little was known about sarcoma and how difficult it was to find people in my situation. The local oncologists referred me to sarcoma center specialists - however these world specialists had very little understanding of the disease themselves and even an accurate diagnosis was hard to find!

I received 8 different sarcoma diagnoses and 7 different treatment recommendations. I spent hours researching published papers on sarcoma to help me decide on a treatment path. I realized that most studies were not significant because the number of enrolled patients averaged about 3...There was no way to gauge how *I* would respond to any particular approach. My physicians referred to my treatments as 'experimental', 'unproven'. I felt like anything would be a big shot in the dark...and I probably had only one shot...

Research in this field is trailing that of other cancers, yet sarcoma represents 20% of all childhood cancers, pointing at some genetic causes that could never be established through a lack of scalable research programs. This situation was unacceptable to me and I created a nonprofit, BeatSarcoma, as a vehicle for change. When 23andMe approached me with their idea of building a sarcoma community and free large-scale research program, I was thrilled. It addressed exactly the two most critical needs of the sarcoma community with a format that is perfect for our scattered group. Sarcoma research must be innovative, as traditional research formats have not yielded results so far. 23andMe embodies this spirit of innovation.

23andMe is eager to work with sarcoma specialists to drive toward the best possible results and has actively pursued partnerships with the world-leading experts. I immediately signed up to help in my own little ways and I will continue to do anything I can to support this effort. I really want this program to succeed so we can further our understanding of sarcoma. I trust that the model can be replicated over other cases of rare diseases.

Please help us spread the word through your local sarcoma organization, physicians and fellow patients or survivors. The success of this program rests on our shoulders!

Nathalie Criou
Founder BeatSarcoma

Help us with the fight against sarcoma. Join the 23andMe Sarcoma Community.

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