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UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has contributed to the development of the first national “research challenge” involving the newly launched Project Data Sphere, LLC (PDS), an independent not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium (LSC).

The initiative, announced today, will mark the launch of a new data sharing platform (, with the goal of advancing research to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families around the world. The CEO Roundtable on Cancer was established in 2001 with the mandate to bring bold and imaginative solutions to cancer care.

The platform will provide one place where the research community can broadly share, integrate and analyze historical patient level, comparator arm data from academic and industry phase III cancer clinical trials. PDS will also issue a series of research challenges designed to bring together expertise and develop innovative solutions to challenging cancer research questions. UNC Lineberger members will be involved in the first challenge launched as a part of this initiative.

“We are excited to be among the first to leverage this exciting data sharing platform. While the initial planned challenge will focus on prostate cancer, the overall initiative will encompass multiple tumor types including breast, colon, leukemia, and others,” said William A. Wood, MD, clinical research with UNC Lineberger’s Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Program. In addition to Dr. Wood, additional UNC Lineberger researchers involved in the planned challenge include Matthew Milowsky, MD, and Ethan Basch, MD.

The first of these planned challenges addresses prostate cancer and is in collaboration with UNC Lineberger members, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Sage Bionetworks, The Dream Project, and additional companies who have provided de-identified, patient-level data.

“Data sharing has the potential to accelerate the speed with which clinical trials are conducted, improve the efficiency of trial designs and assist with the development of data standards applicable to all cancer types through initiatives such as the Project Data Sphere initiative,” said Robert J. Hugin, member, CEO Roundtable on Cancer and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene.

In order to ensure that researchers can realize the full potential of this data, PDS teamed with CEO Roundtable member SAS Institute Inc. (SAS), a leader in data and health analytics, to provide state-of-the-art analytic tools available to registered users within the Project Data Sphere environment.

The Project Data Sphere initiative addressed prior obstacles to clinical trial data sharing and worked with leading legal and privacy experts, as well as clinicians, commercial institutions and patient representatives to build an optimal framework to share data responsibly.

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