Vice President Joe Biden Discusses Big Data in Cancer Research at World Economic Forum


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On January 19, 2016, Vice President Joe Biden discussed big data as one of the “major undertakings” designed to advance the pace of progress in the fight against cancer as part of his new “moonshot” initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos Klosters, Switzerland.

Mr. Biden presided over a panel discussion with leading health-care policy, cancer research, and technology experts that explored the importance of sharing data and improving interoperability of patient information in cancer care, among other issues in cancer research and treatment.

Topics discussed during the special roundtable session included cutting-edge areas of research and technology, such as CRISPR [clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats]/Cas [CRISPR-associated] technology; technologic innovation and data science advancements; the need for international collaboration; and challenges that must be overcome, such as a need for enhanced data harmonization, if we are to dramatically accelerate the pace of progress against cancer.

CancerLinQ and Project GENIE

He specifically mentioned ASCO’s CancerLinQ™ initiative, speaking of CancerLinQ’s efforts to “harness big data and personalize care for millions of cancer patients.”

CancerLinQ is a cutting-edge health information technology platform that will provide real-time quality feedback to providers, feed personalized insights to doctors, and uncover patterns that can improve care.

He also cited the American Assocation for Cancer Research’s (AACR) Project GENIE during his opening remarks at the session. AACR Project GENIE is an international data-sharing project that is using an approach to data harmonization that allows each participating organization to continue to operate how it best sees fit while simultaneously contributing its data to the project. By aggregating clinical-grade sequencing data from its members, the project will improve patient treatment decisions and catalyze clinical and translational research, not only at the participating institutions, but also throughout the entire biomedical research community by ultimately making the data open to everyone following varying times of exclusive access. ■



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