Public Release: 

Cancer Moonshot expands data collection to boost access to information

Platform multiplies collaborative options for research teams nationwide

University of Chicago Medical Center

In response to Vice President Biden's call to action for the Cancer Moonshot, representatives from government, academic, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies have agreed to jump-start the development of an open database for liquid biopsies with an initial blood-profiling pilot program. The University of Chicago will play a key role in this effort by providing the data-sharing technology.

The project -- designed to examine circulating tumor cells and tumor DNA from blood samples -- will use the open-source data commons platform developed by the University of Chicago's Center for Data Intensive Science. This unique public-private partnership will accelerate the development of a high-quality open database with the potential to hasten federal approval of advanced diagnostic technologies.

The University of Chicago established its position as a leader in data sharing through the recent launch of the NCI Genomic Data Commons (GDC), a next-generation platform with approximately 4.1 petabytes of cancer genomic data, opening the door to discoveries for this complex set of diseases. The blood-profiling atlas pilot will use the same technology that powers the GDC. Over time, these research and data-sharing projects should improve cancer care by providing the information necessary to determine which drugs and combinations work best for specific tumors.

"One of the initial goals is to bring all of the data into one place, analyze it and display it in a uniform way," said Biden, in his June speech to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. "Our aim," he said, "is for researchers to have information at their fingertips about the relationship between abnormalities and mutations of genes and clinical outcomes."

The Open Commons Consortium -- which includes representatives from government, academic, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies -- will develop a unified data-governance structure across all the organizations involved.


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