New Cancer Institutions Join OHSU and Intel in the Collaborative Cancer Cloud

Precision medicine is gaining traction worldwide. Countries like China, the UK and Saudi Arabia are all committing to enabling precision medicine to improve the health of their people. In the US, I have been honored to learn from, and serve on, the NIH advisory group for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). Recently, Intel made corporate commitments to help accelerate the PMI effort.  We’ve launched an industry challenge called “All in One Day” to make an individual’s precision treatment possible, easy, and affordable within 24 hours from genome sequence to customized care plan.

As I and my team travel around the world to drive this initiative, we are hearing a common refrain around the need for robust and secure ways to share data so we can accelerate the scientific breakthroughs and insights for precision medicine.  It is increasingly clear that secure data sharing—at a scale far beyond what today’s efforts have achieved so far—is a fundamental barrier we must overcome to scale precision medicine for all. Vice President Biden’s “cancer moonshot” effort, for example, is focusing on this crucial data sharing challenge.

To that end, we announced our work with OHSU on the Collaborative Cancer Cloud in August. Earlier today, Intel and OHSU were pleased to announce the expansion of the Collaborative Cancer Cloud to include Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. I am excited to welcome them as fellow pioneers in collaborating on this personalized medicine platform.

Cancer research and institutions doing the research, benefit greatly when the size of the datasets are maximized. By participating in the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, the institutions increase the chances of making new discoveries and finding potential life-saving insights through collaborative analytics across patient datasets the institutions have collectively assembled.

The Collaborative Cancer Cloud is unique because it uses a federated approach, meaning the institutions don’t need to upload their data in a centralized location in order to share or run analytics on larger datasets. This approach overcomes many of the concerns around collaborating on sensitive datasets while having access to unprecedented volumes of data. This allows for secure, aggregated computation across distributed sites without loss of local control of the data, ensuring an institution’s ability to maintain proper custody of its datasets and protecting patient privacy and any institutional intellectual property that may result.

As more institutions join precision medicine platforms like the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, they will break trail on many important elements of collaborating in a federated environment. The Collaborative Cancer Cloud is designed to allow researchers to determine how and when their data will be used. For example, while the Collaborative Cancer Cloud does provide a standard set of tools, it is the institutions who determine what tools they will use and what tools can be used on their data. This type of personalized medicine platform is designed to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of the institutions using it, and not having the institutions conform to the tools they are using.

With the announcement today of OICR and DFCI helping Intel and OHSU to prove out and scale out these tools, it feels like the All in One Day is one step closer. But we have many miles to go to drive the kind of security, the kind of scale, the kind of collaborative data sharing that will be needed to accelerate the research, and thus the clinical options, for not only people with cancer but a wide range of diseases. We look forward to bringing on more collaborators, more data, and more tools-makers in the near future.

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