FIND seeks volunteer beta testers to participate in a user acceptance testing (UAT) of a new biomarker database, Biomarkers to Diagnostics (Bm2Dx), in April 2017. This novel tool is designed to centralize tuberculosis (TB) biomarker research and discovery efforts in order to facilitate their translation into more efficient, affordable and accessible point-of-care TB diagnostics. Though the first stage of Bm2Dx development has been completed, a UAT is critical to advancing it to the next phase of development and launch.
FIND, McGill and the New Diagnostics Working Group (NDWG) Biomarker Task Force commenced development work on Bm2Dx in 2016, motivated by the lack of promising TB biomarkers, despite the fact that the field of biomarker research for infectious disease is rapidly growing. Part of the problem is that various efforts to discover and validate TB biomarkers can result in duplication of work and the accumulation of multiple datasets. As a result, it is challenging to assess the current status of biomarker candidates in order to identify and promote the most promising hits through the development pipeline.
Bm2Dx is intended to serve as a tool that can help overcome these issues. The result will be a single database containing better evaluation of the status and development stage of each biomarker candidate, and greater communication, collaboration and coordination in the field of biomarker research. The database currently contains 151 curated publications and 22 clinical trials linked to 194 biomarker records. In addition, a well-structured database that organizes information in a searchable and easily accessible format has been developed, facilitating data visualization, standardization and retrieval.
FIND now seeks applications from those interested in being early-access users and key contributors to the development of Bm2Dx. Volunteers are requested to complete a brief application by April 10, 2017. Upon selection, participants will have the opportunity to complete the UAT, estimated to take no more than two hours, any time from April 15-30. Participants will receive detailed instructions and support from FIND staff, if needed.
For more information, please see the in-depth overview of Bm2Dx that was published in IJID in early 2017.