ASCO Announces Funding for CancerLinQ Clinical Data Analysis Initiative

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – In an effort to facilitate evidence-based clinical oncology despite the ongoing challenge of low clinical trial participation rates, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has announced that it is helping to develop CancerLinQ, a “knowledge-generating” computer network that will gather cancer patient data from myriad sources for analysis.

ASCO announced Friday that it has secured $3 million in new funding for the project.

The project will yield a “rapid learning system,” like those called for in a 2010 Institutes of Medicine workshop report on the use of health information technology to drive advances in evidence-based clinical medicine, according to ASCO's CancerLinQ website.

“Today, we know very little about most patients with cancer – from the molecular characteristics of their tumors to the outcomes of their treatments – because these details are locked away in unconnected electronic and paper records,” the website states.

Patient electronic health records (EHRs), clinical trial databases, genomic data, and clinical practice guidelines will be collected and analyzed to provide “real-time, personalized guidance and quality feedback to physicians,” ASCO announced. The system will allow rapid aggregation of data to identify trends and conduct association analyses to test hypotheses about cancer care and clinical outcomes, according to the website.

“CancerLinQ has the potential to transform the care of all patients with cancer by enabling us to learn from every single patient's experience and provide the highest quality of care based on the best evidence,” said ASCO President Sandra M. Swain, MD.

Enrollment in clinical cancer treatment trials is poor, with only 3% of adult patients enrolling in such studies even though an estimated 20% are eligible.

“Rapid learning” systems like CancerLinQ were conceived as a way to centralize and analyze data routinely gathered for administrative and clinical purposes, allowing analyses of patient care practices and outcomes, and large-scale association studies.

The $4 million CancerLinQ project will be implemented in two phases: first, a donation from Susan G. Komen for the Cure will be used to complete and evaluate a breast cancer prototype by early next year, ASCO officials said. Then, gifts from the Helsinn Group and Genentech will be used to develop a full CancerLinQ system that incorporates “lessons learned” from the prototype.

Data sharing agreements will allow ASCO access to patient-identifier-blinded data for approximately 100,000 patients for the prototype-phase breast cancer project. Data will be provided by a US oncology data analysis firm, IntrinsiQ LLC, and four cancer centers: the Main Center for Cancer Medicine, the Marin Specialty Care and Marin General Hospital in California, the Space Coast Cancer Center in Florida, and Tennessee Oncology, ASCO announced.

CancerLinQ is supported by the Conquor Cancer Foundation and ASCO.

CancerLinQ website

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