The CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium has initiated Project Data Sphere, a collaborative effort to create a shared platform where clinical trials data will become available to researchers for further studies that will speed cancer research. Project Data Sphere is bringing life sciences organizations, health advocacy groups, medical data standards organizations, contract research companies, universities, and technology providers together to create a data sharing environment that aims to honor patient participation in research trials by using historic research findings to aid in developing more effective therapies for future patients.
Christopher A. Viehbacher, chief executive officer of Sanofi, chairs the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of cancer-fighting CEOs who established the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ workplace accreditation program and that have been developing Project Data Sphere during the past two years.
“Broadly sharing existing clinical trial data for the benefit of all researchers can be a key driver in speeding up cancer research efforts, encouraging innovation, and honoring those patients who have participated in clinical trials as well as those future patients who deserve our very best collective efforts in discovering new and better therapies,” said Viehbacher.
The scientific, academic and regulatory communities have long encouraged the exchange of data for validation, however, these efforts have not led to widespread data sharing between researchers. Significant challenges, including patient privacy concerns, data security, international law and corporate policies have stalled opportunities to learn more from secondary analyses of data already collected. By employing advanced data security and anonymization strategies and pooling multiple studies associated with the same diagnosis, Project Data Sphere addresses both the legal and technical issues associated with sharing these kinds of data.
Dr. Charles Hugh-Jones, Vice President, Medical Affairs North America, Sanofi Oncology, recently presented Project Data Sphere on behalf of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium at a recent Institute of Medicine workshop on sharing clinical research data. The development of this promising initiative which will be formally launched in spring, 2013 was also recently highlighted in the weekly journal, Science.
No one has ever doubted the benefits such sharing would bring. These include ready-made comparisons of different treatment regimens, instant creation of pseudo-experimental treatment and control groups to study the impact of risk factors across studies, and an opportunity to use multiple instances of small sample studies to develop a more valid population estimate for epidemiological work. The leadership of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and its Member CEOs has made Project Data Sphere a reality and in doing so will create new opportunities for innovation and collaboration in drug discovery and new hope for cancer patients.