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IDDB, biomarkers and big data to cure Dupuytren disease

The International Dupuytren Data Bank (IDDB)

will focus on Dupuytren biomarkers

Why are biomarkers important for Dupuytren disease?
Dupuytren contracture is an effect, not a cause.
Think of fever. Fever is an effect of infection, drug reaction, or something else.
Just treating the effect – the fever – doesn’t cure the cause.
You have to find the cause to treat the cause.
Doctors use biomarkers in blood tests to find causes of fever.
There are different biomarkers for infection, drug reaction, or other causes.
Without biomarkers, treatment is guesswork.
 What is a biomarker?
A biomarker is something used to measure a biological process. For example:
Weight and height can be used to calculate body mass index, a biomarker of obesity.
Glucose levels in the blood are a biomarker for diabetes.
Nicotine levels in the blood are a biomarker for smoking tobacco.
Biomarkers can be DNA, lab tests, or other measurements.
Many biomarkers have been found; many are waiting to be found.
Biomarker knowledge helps treat specific conditions.
The Framingham Heart Study studied heart disease.
It found high cholesterol increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Cholesterol, the biomarker, is also the cause of vascular disease.
Based on this, treatment of high cholesterol has saved many lives.
Biomarker diagnosis is more accurate than a doctor’s physical examination.
Biomarkers show whether a disease is mild, moderate, or severe.
Biomarkers show which patients need treatment, and which patients don’t.
What does this have to do with Dupuytren disease?
We don’t yet have a blood test biomarker for Dupuytren disease.
Without a biomarker, we can’t find a cure.
All current Dupuytren treatments only treat the effect, not the cause.
The goal of the IDDB is to find the Dupuytren biomarker and develop a cure.
How will this work?
First, we’ll collect baseline information on people with Dupuytren disease.
People with Dupuytren disease fill out surveys using secure online forms.
Then, we track progress of each person’s Dupuytren disease and other health issues.
Every six months, they will fill out a followup survey.
Then, we search for biomarkers.
Blood test kits will be sent to people who regularly fill out surveys.
Blood tests will be analyzed for DNA and other biomarkers.
Then, we compare blood tests and individual stories to find biomarkers of severe disease.
Once we find biomarkers and the cause, we can work on a cure.
How long will this take?
Ideally, two year survey data and blood tests will be collected on at least 10,000 patients.
Depending on recruitment and funding, three to five years identify biomarkers.
How much will this cost?
There’s no charge to participate in the research.
Funding for the research is being arranged through Dupuytren Foundation efforts.
Current projection is $500 per patient, or $5 million total.
The bulk of funding is expected from individual gifts and foundation grants.
Enroll in the IDDB: