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The Project Data Sphere® initiative marks initial research outcomes

June 01, 2015
Cary, NC

Following its one-year launch anniversary and the achievement of its goal of including data from 25,000 patient lives, Project Data Sphere, LLC (PDS), an independent not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium (LSC), marked the publication of several peer-reviewed articles using academic and industry cancer clinical trial data from this innovative research library-laboratory.

Three peer-reviewed papers referencing The Project Data Sphere initiative appear in the May 2015; Vol. 20, No. 5; issue of The Oncologist. This follows a series of research abstracts which were published in conjunction with ASCO, the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Two of The Oncologist research papers focus on prostate cancer research, including the collaboration with Sage BioNetworks and the Prostate Cancer Foundation which led to the launch of The Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge. This effort marries crowdsourcing with data sharing, offering an innovative approach to tackle key research questions about metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), an advanced form of the disease with poor outcomes. There are currently nearly 450 solvers comprising 25 teams participating in The Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge. The first round of the Challenge closed this week and a leaderboard will soon be posted, allowing teams to compare their performances.

"The Project Data Sphere initiative is a great example of a precompetitive endeavor that will help us accelerate therapeutic breakthroughs," said Elias A. Zerhouni, MD, President of Global Research and Development, Sanofi and former Director, National Institutes of Health.

There are currently more than 900 authorized users on the platform with access to 49 data sets representing 27,000 patient lives across a broad array of cancer tumor areas. The site activity has increased significantly since its launch in April, 2014; more than 2,000 data downloads for research purposes have occurred since that time.

The achievement of these research milestones was made possible through collaborations with organizations which provided data and catalyzed the use of the platform for research innovation. Charter data providers include: AstraZeneca, Bayer, Celgene, Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Pfizer and Sanofi. Most of these organizations also increased their level of data provision throughout the year. Additionally, the ranks of data providers grew to include other leading oncology research organizations such as: Amgen, EMD Serono, Lilly, Synta and The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, one of the five U.S. network groups of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program.

“The Life Sciences Consortium has a record of catalyzing step change in the precompetitive space. The fact that so many companies have been willing to share such detailed cancer clinical trial information in an open access framework with the tools to interrogate this information intelligently has the potential to impact future clinical trial design in profound ways,” said Gregory Curt, MD, Executive Director, External Science and Clinical Relations, AstraZeneca Oncology.

In order to ensure that researchers can realize the full potential of this data, PDS teamed with CEO Roundtable on Cancer Member, SAS Institute Inc. SAS, a leader in data and health analytics, developed and hosts the site and provides free state-of-the-art analytic tools to registered users within the Project Data Sphere environment.

The broad-access approach of the Project Data Sphere® platform,, is bringing together diverse minds and technology to help unleash the full potential of existing clinical trial data and speed innovation by generating collective insights that may lead to improved trial design, modeling of disease progression and endpoints and entirely new research gleaned from applying advanced analytic technology to existing data.


About SAS

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About Sage Bionetworks

Sage Bionetworks ( is a nonprofit biomedical research organization, founded in 2009, with a vision to promote innovations in personalized medicine by enabling a community-based approach to scientific inquiries and discoveries. In pursuit of this Mission, Sage Bionetworks is working with others, including the DREAM Initiative, to assemble an information Commons for biomedicine that (1)  is supported by an open compute space (Synapse:, (2) supports open research collaborations and innovative DREAM Challenges, and (3) empowers citizens and patients with the tools to partner with researchers and share their data through Sage’s BRIDGE platform ( in order to drive the research studies that matter most to them. Sage Bionetworks is located on the campus of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and is supported through a portfolio of philanthropic donations, competitive research grants, and commercial partnerships.