The Project Data Sphere Initiative

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Billions of dollars are spent every year by pharma companies researching and testing new cancer treatments. Although there is a wealth of valuable, historical cancer clinical trial data, it’s not available. The Project Data Sphere initiative aims to change that because large pools of data can, and should, be put to use.

Project data sphere initiative

Project Data Sphere is an independent initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium, whose members are charged with working together in the war on cancer to accomplish what no single organization could do alone. The Consortium builds collaboration that accelerates research and development into more effective cancer treatments.

Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chair of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and Sanofi Chief Executive Officer, said:

Globally, more than 8.2 million lives are lost to cancer every year. Making a difference demands a paradigm shift. The Project Data Sphere initiative, with its broad access approach, will help define an additional path to accelerate cancer research.

Indeed, less than 10% of potential new drugs that enter clinical trials end up on the market. Data sharing can change that, as it strengthens new waves of productivity, growth and innovation in healthcare.

The Project Data Sphere database allows researchers to share, integrate and analyze patient-level, comparator arm, phase III cancer data (all de-identified). Protocols, data descriptors, and case report form templates are also provided to enable users to tap into the value of the data. Phase III studies are designed to assess the effectiveness of the new intervention. Phase III trials are rare: the percentage of phase II studies that proceed to phase III, as of 2008, was only 18%. Phase III studies are also the most expensive, time-consuming and difficult trials to design and run.

The video below introduces the Project Data Sphere Initiative.

A consortium of pharma companies and research organizations — AstraZeneca, Bayer, Celgene, Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Pfizer and Sanofi — contributed historical clinical trial data last month from 9 clinical trials with the goal of helping other researchers better understand disease progression, accelerate drug development or design more efficient clinical trials.

Project Data Sphere is also working with other organizations, including the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (sponsored by the National Cancer Institute), Amgen and Quintiles to provide additional cancer data sets.

The release of version 1.0 of the platform is the first step. The Project Data Sphere platform will evolve based on feedback from the user community. The future plan is to incorporate a community-based network that includes discussion boards and competitions to drive new ideas and innovation.

Source: Project Data Sphere

About the Author

Jenny Jessen is Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH. She is also a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH.