Monthly Archives: September 2012

Salvatore’s Open Source Cure for brain cancer

Salvatore Iaconesi is an italian guy who lives in Roma and had a couple of illnesses in a few days. Doctors found the cause in a cancer that is growing within his brain. When Salvatore got his medical records from the hospital, he noticed that the data (CT scan imagery among them) was delivered in a closed, proprietary format, preventing him to do whatever he wants with his own data.

After noticing all this, Salvatore decided to crack the data and publish everything on a website. You can find his whole records there, without any censorship or limitation. Salvatore thinks that this will help sharing the data with the (probably many) doctors he will need to consult to fight the cancer. And he thinks too that somebody can help him finding an “Open Source Cure” for his cancer:

“Grab the information about my disease, if you want, 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. Artists, designers, hackers, scientists, doctors, photographers, videomakers, musicians, writers. Anyone can give me a CURE. Create your CURE using the content which you find in the DATA section here on this site, and send it to info@artisopensource.net

There are several points of interest in the whole story. First of all, I find both incredible and repugnant that personal data like CT scans are delivered in a proprietary format. AFAIK, Italy has laws stating that Public Administration must use open, standardized formats. It would be worth investigating how many agencies regularly use closed formats (my guess: a lot of them).

Further, I believe this is the first time such an effort is deployed in this way. I am so pleased when FLOSS (in the most extensive reading of the word “Software”) can help people and spread awareness about important topics. Not to say about what incredible virtuous cycles can be started: it’s just 1 day this website has been launched, and lot of sources are already speaking about it.

Also, I like the extensive definition of the word “Cure” that Salvatore is promoting. Cancer is a disease with a severe impact on the psychological side of a person, and curing of it is not just chemotherapy and ionizing radiations: it’s also improving the quality of life day by day. I hope that Salvatore will get many cures on his website, and I hope those cures might help other person as well. Again, it’s amazing how the FLOSS “philosophy” can apply to so many different fields of the life.

Finally, I really look up to Salvatore for his great idea. This is a tremendous show of mettle and clear head. I wish him all the best for the future, and hope that website will soon become just the memory of a bad period.