The Project Data Sphere® initiative achieves 1st year milestones

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Since its launch one year ago, Project Data Sphere, LLC (PDS), an independent not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium (LSC), achieved its key 12-month goal of including data from 25,000 patient lives as part of its broader aim to share, integrate and analyze historical patient level, comparator arm data from academic and industry cancer clinical trials to drive innovation and accelerate research. The broad-access approach of the Project Data Sphere® platform,, is bringing together diverse minds and technology to help unleash the full potential of existing clinical trial data and speed innovation by generating collective insights that may lead to improved trial design, modeling of disease progression and endpoints and entirely new research gleaned from applying advanced analytic technology to existing data.

“This is an achievement to be celebrated,” said Mace Rothenberg, M.D., Co-Chairman of the Task Force which launched the Project Data Sphere initiative and senior vice president of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for Pfizer Oncology.

Project Data Sphere will help advance cancer research in an entirely new way: by providing access to patient-level data along with the sophisticated analytic tools necessary to identify new patterns, behavior, and outcomes of cancer. This has the potential to not only advance our knowledge and understanding of cancer but to help in the design of better, more efficient clinical trials that could help speed the development of new, more effective therapies

During its first year, the Project Data Sphere initiative achieved many milestones:

  • The data sharing platform performed flawlessly during its first year in operation.
  • The data on the platform has grown to include more than 25,0000 patient lives across more than 40 data sets from various cancer tumor types including bladder, breast, colorectal, gastric, kidney, lung, melanoma , myelofibrosis, , pancreatic and prostate.
  • The registered user community has grown to more than 750 authorized users who have performed more than 2,000 downloads of data for research purposes
  • More than 10 manuscripts, both in peer-reviewed journals and abstracts, were published using data and/or analysis from the platform.
  • A crowdsourced research challenge was launched to address key questions related to prostate cancer

The achievement of these goals was made possible through collaborations with organizations which provided data and catalyzed the use of the platform for research innovation. Charter data providers include: AstraZeneca, Bayer, Celgene, Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Pfizer and Sanofi. Most of these organizations also increased their level of data provision throughout the year.

Additionally, the ranks of data providers grew to include other leading oncology research organizations such as: Amgen, EMD Serono, Lilly, Synta and The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, one of the five U.S. network groups of the National Cancer Instititute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program.

“The faith that patients show in us as researchers when they volunteer for clinical trials is too important to let their valuable information sit unused after a trial is complete,” said Daniel J. Sargent, PhD, Ralph S. and Beverly E. Caulkins Professor of Cancer Research at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Group Statistician for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. “Data sharing through efforts such as the Project Data Sphere initiative allows new research and new discoveries that no single trial could provide on its own. The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology is proud to partner with Project Data Sphere, LLC to make our data available in a responsible manner.’

In order to ensure that researchers can realize the full potential of this data, PDS teamed with CEO Roundtable on Cancer Member, SAS Institute Inc. SAS, a leader in data and health analytics, developed and hosts the site and provides state-of-the-art analytic tools to registered users within the Project Data Sphere environment.

Additional collaborations with leading organization like Sage BioNetworks and the Prostate Cancer Foundation have helped to lead the charge to encourage researchers to leverage and explore how the research community can accelerate cancer research for the benefits of patients. The first research challenge using data from the Project Data Sphere initiative was launched earlier in 2015. The Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge marries crowdsourcing with data sharing, offering an innovative approach to tackle key research questions about metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), an advanced form of the disease with poor outcomes.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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