CHICAGO—In his address to more than 35,000 oncology professionals at the 2016 American Society Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Vice President Joe Biden spoke about his vision for comprehensive data-sharing as part of the Cancer MoonShot initiative, referencing specifically ASCO’s CancerLinQ.1

“Today, oncologists and cancer researchers realize that they can’t [advance cancer progress] alone… What’s required today extends beyond any individual or any individual discipline, beyond medicine itself… It requires somewhat of a change in mindset. It requires a lot more openness: open data, open collaboration and, above all, open minds,” Vice President Biden said.1

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CancerLinQ is a data-sharing initiative developed to rapidly improve the quality of care for individuals with cancer. It connects and analyzes electronic health records to provide data for oncologists to use to make more informed decisions about patient care. CancerLinQ generates usable, searchable, real time information that oncology professionals can retrieve from their computers or mobile devices, giving them the ability to compare actual care they are providing with standard guidelines.2

CancerLinQ can also explore patterns and trends across patient characteristics, which will help to coordinate and improve care. Oncologists can determine the best evidence-based course of care by contrasting their patient’s care against data from similar cases.2

CancerLinQ has completed agreements with 58 oncology practices, comprising 1000 providers under contract in 39 states and the District of Columbia.2

Another critical aspect of the Cancer MoonShot includes creating new approaches to developing and recruiting for clinical trials. To achieve this, ASCO has designed the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) study.3

“As personalized medicine and combination therapy become the norm for cancer treatment, we need new approaches to clinical trials. That was one of the epiphanies,” said Vice President Biden. “The 1 thing that was completely new to me was how difficult it was to get into a trial, or how to find out where 1 was being conducted, or, if you are conducting 1, to find patients who can, in fact, qualify.”1

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The study, which has received consent from 49 patients from 37 sites, is designed to assess molecularly targeted cancer agents used outside of indications already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and to collect data on clinical outcomes. TAPUR provides substantial flexibility for both patients and clinical sites to participate by using broad inclusion criteria, allowing physicians to choose the genomic profiling test and blood/tumor sample, and streamlining data collection.3

“TAPUR addresses a critical priority for achieving the promise of precision medicine: identifying existing, effective treatments for cancers based on their genomic profiles,” said ASCO Chief Medical Officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO. “Since only about 5% of adult patients participate in oncology clinical trials, creative approaches like TAPUR, whose study design is grounded in real-world clinical practice, are needed to gather information that will benefit future patients.”3


1. Vice President Joe Biden’s MoonShot Address. Presented at: 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting; June 7, 2016. 
2. ASCO’s CancerLinQ™ extends its reach – 58 oncology practices, 750,000 patient records, 1,000 providers under contract, new partnership launch with the nation’s leading cancer informatics association [news release]. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO); June 5, 2016. 
3. TAPUR study achieves milestones: 49 patients consent to participate, Bayer and Merck sign on as drug providers, and thirty-seven sites are participating twelve weeks post-launch [news release]. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO); June 6, 2016. 

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor