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Cancer Commons Expands Pre-Competitive Alliance

By Bio-IT World Staff

February 13, 2013 | Cancer Commons has announced six new cancer ecosystem Alliance members: Knight Diagnostic Laboratories at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU); the Thoracic Oncology Program, University of Chicago Medicine; Science Exchange, an online marketplace for scientific services; and patient advocates the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Imerman Angels, and Melanoma Research Foundation.

Marty Tenenbaum, Cancer Commons’ founder and chairman, made the announcement during the plenary keynote at the 2013 Molecular Med Tri-Con in San Francisco this morning.

“This latest expansion brings a group of highly distinguished research centers, patient advocacy organizations, and service providers into the Alliance and its shared mission of transforming the cancer treatment experience,” said Tenenbaum, in a statement. “By establishing an infrastructure for rapid learning, the Alliance is facilitating the relationships, data sharing, analysis, and diagnostic access that will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for patients with cancer. We are grateful for our Alliance members’ unique contributions and excited at the promise of shared progress in our mission.”

Cancer Commons is a non-profit, open science initiative linking patients, physicians, and scientists.

The cancer ecosystem Alliance is a pre-competitive group of cancer centers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, laboratories, patient advocacy organizations, and others committed to facilitating rapid learning in cancer.

Because cancer is not a single disease, but rather a large collection of diseases that differ on the molecular level, Cancer Commons arms patients with the information needed to select the most effective therapies for their individual tumor, and lets them contribute data that can help inform the next patient’s decision.

Members of Cancer Commons’ ecosystem Alliance are developing the three components of the core infrastructure required for rapid learning:
• A network that can collect and share molecular and clinical data from every cancer patient. Cancer Commons’ Donate Your Data (DYD) initiative, currently in pilot phase with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and other Alliance members, allows patients to voluntarily contribute data from their treatment experiences to support rapid learning.
• A secure platform that facilitates analysis, discussion, and use of data by patients, physicians, and scientists. The first iteration of this platform is online at, and invites participants to share data and discuss curated consensus models of melanoma, lung, and prostate cancers.
• An e-commerce marketplace that allows patients and their physicians to select and order the diagnostic tests and services that can molecularly subtype and profile tumors. Such tests are critical to the future of individualized cancer treatment, but are not yet sufficiently widespread. Alliance members such as Knight Diagnostic Laboratories and Science Exchange are providing important expertise to establish this marketplace.

These three components work together to facilitate the rapid learning necessary to transform cancer research and treatment. The data network provides an opportunity for patients to share their experiences over time, and integrate lab and clinical data across participating institutions. The platform enables a continually updated knowledge base of cancer molecular subtypes, therapies, and clinical trials. The marketplace will allow Alliance members to leverage each other’s resources—from consented, de-identified patient data and specimens to CLIA-certified molecular diagnostics, pre-clinical drug screening, and patient-derived xenograft facilities—to further inform research and practice.

Cancer Commons will proactively recruit Alliance members and provide a neutral forum for planning and governance, assisting stakeholders in defining guidelines around issues such as the collection and sharing of data and specimens, software and data interoperability standards, patient consents and IRB protocols. Organizations interested in learning more about the Alliance should visit or contact

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