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Surprising Science

Putting His Medical Records Online In Search Of A Cure

Diagnosed with brain cancer, an Italian engineer and artist put up a Web site displaying his medical records and asking for solutions. The response has been surprisingly fruitful.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

When Italian engineer and artist Salvatore Iaconesi received a diagnosis of brain cancer, he asked for his medical records, which he then used to create a Web site called Open Source Cure in which he instructs visitors to “[g]rab the information about my disease…and give me a cure, create a video, an artwork, a map, a text, a poem, a game, or try to find a solution for my health problem.” In the month since the site’s been up, he has received so much information that he’s had to get help to go through it all. He is now consulting with a number of different doctors about surgical options.

What’s the Big Idea?

Collaboration between physicians and other medical professionals has always taken place, but rarely is the patient involved in the conversation. Iaconesi was inspired to create the site when he sensed that he had stopped being a person and become a problem to be solved. That said, he stresses that the site is not anti-doctor or anti-science, but pro-patient. “I’m happy that a situation that was unlucky for me has turned into an opportunity to understand how to use technology, science and human goodwill in a collaborative way.”

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