“This is good news in the fight against cancer. With the launch of this new national resource, anyone can freely access raw genomic and clinical data for 12,000 patients – with more records to follow. Increasing the pool of researchers who can access data and decreasing the time it takes for them to review and find new patterns in that data is critical to speeding up development of lifesaving treatments for patients.”
-Vice President Joe Biden
The most significant part of Vice President Joe Biden’s speech was mention of a new project, called Genomic Data Commons (GDC), which aims “to facilitate sharing of genomic and clinical data among cancer researchers to help promote advances in personalized treatment for the many forms of the disease.” The project, which will have an operations center at the University of Chicago, and which is funded by the “National Cancer Institute, is a key component of President Obama’s national cancer moonshot and Precision Medicine Initiative.” “It is our hope that Genomic Data Commons will prove pivotal in advancing precision medicine”, Biden said.
The Vice President also mentioned that the effort to find a cure for cancer should be as urgent as the one for an Ebola cure. He stated at the ASCO meeting, “[When] we were worried about Ebola we were able to aggregate tens of millions of dollars and the entire US military because the World Health Organization couldn’t handle it. That’s the kind of urgency we need with regard to cancer.”
Biden told attendees that in order to succeed in the fight against cancer, “I desperately need help.” He explained that the moonshot’s goal is “‘to eliminate cancer as we know it’ by fostering research, early detection, and access to treatment.” Biden also urged researchers to share data, saying, “No single oncologist can find the answer on his or her own.”
Few other details other than mention of the GDC in terms of data aggregation were presented in the speech. He mentioned “Help us help you” saying this is the “last bipartisan issue in America.”
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