Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and NTG Clarity Networks, a developer of network, IT and infrastructure solutions, announced Thursday a joint Internet/intranet project.
Toronto-based NTG Clarity will develop a new database for the hospital’s Arab Genetic Disorders Consortium. The database will use NTG Clarity’s Virtual Nervous System (VNS) application to provide a link for 30 researchers in 15 countries studying genetic disorders specific to the Arab population.
The VNS application is modelled after a “reactive and proactive nervous system” and will expedite processing of genetic data. Researchers will access a common interface to track, compile, record data and engage in real-time discussion with Consortium members.
There is already a lot of data collected, but the database will allow it to be presented online, said Ashraf Zaghloul, chief executive officer and chairman for NTG Clarity Networks in Toronto.
“It’s a knowledge management system accessible in real-time through virtual private networks and the Internet. Data collection becomes convenient as a doctor could now get his assistant to enter data that can be immediately accessed and updated by other researchers,” said Zaghloul.
The old system used e-mails and bulletin boards that weren’t really practical, he noted.
The database is designed for Arab genetic disorders but can be expanded to include other ethnic groups, said Zaghloul.
The knowledge management system replaces localized networks and allows researchers to share information globally, said Dr. Ahmad Teebi, section head of clinical genetics at The Hospital for Sick Children.
Although all genetic disorders in the human race are the same, certain disorders affect certain groups, said Teebi.
This advancement in research benefits the one million people of Arab origin in Canada and over 300 million worldwide, he noted.
“In the Arab world certain genetic disorders are apparent. This is the first population specific database that allows for collaboration with scientists from all over the world.
The next step, which will take a few months, is to fill and curate the database and make it visible to other researchers,” said Teebi.
NTG Clarity Networks is at http://www.ntgclarity.com.