Big Teamwork, Big Data in Cancer Fight

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Tampa-based Moffitt Cancer Center have joined forces in the fight against cancer by forming the world’s largest cancer research collaboration for big data.

The new team, named the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), will launch with more than 100,000 patients participating — about as many people needed to fill the Ohio State Buckeye’s famous horseshoe-shaped football stadium (capacity 102,329) during a battle on the legendary football field.

The goal is to accelerate discoveries in cancer research through patients’ donated tissue samples and clinical data for research to take place at the molecular level. The two North American leading cancer centers, Moffitt and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, announced what is likely the largest collaboration of its kind.

ORIEN will utilize a single protocol, Total Cancer Care®, to create a collaborative “rapid learning” environment that will share de-identified data to speed the development of targeted treatments, allowing researchers and clinicians to more quickly match eligible patients to clinical trials and conduct larger and richer analyses.

National System Long Overdue

Leaders of each cancer center emphasized ORIEN’s goal to develop more precise ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancers.

“Cancer is a highly complex disease, and potential breakthroughs have been stalled because we’ve lacked an efficient way to share incremental insights,” says Dr. Alan F. List, president and CEO of Moffitt. “Even more frustrating, until today we’ve had no system to quickly match cancer patients from anywhere in the country with ongoing clinical research with the most potential to help them. By partnering with The Ohio State University through ORIEN, we’ve built a cancer research expressway.”

“With ORIEN, we’re amassing a true national cancer database for the first time,” says Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital. “The collaboration across academic centers and with the health-care industry will not only help speed discovery, but will also provide patients with more personalized treatment options and, ultimately, lead to better outcomes.”

Through medical data analysis and sharing, ORIEN will provide physicians evidence of the best therapeutic options, including clinical trial treatments specific to a patient’s biological and epidemiological profile, increasing the likelihood of treatment efficacy, accelerating response times and potentially minimizing side effects while improving outcomes.

Patients are followed throughout their lifetimes and can play an active role in the study of their type of cancer and improve care for future generations.

ORIEN builds upon the strengths of its founders’ National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers: Moffitt’s Total Cancer Care protocol, biorepository and data warehouse of patients’ genotypic and phenotypic data, and OSUCCC-James’s depth and breadth in translating molecular- and genetic-based discoveries into more effective ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure cancers.

This collaboration also provides a major opportunity for industry researchers and pharmaceutical companies to tailor their drugs to individual molecular profiles of the tumors. This will lead to greater efficiencies in clinical trials, the drug-approval process and post-market surveillance.

M2Gen®, a subsidiary of Moffitt, will serve as ORIEN’s operational and commercial provider for support, bringing expertise in data management and informatics.

The ORIEN collaborative will seek partnerships with other leading cancer centers in North America.

This initiative marks a huge step in more collaboration in the fight against cancer and furthers the goal of ultimately winning the war.