US research grants should require data sharing: Cancer Moonshot Pathways

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Note: President Joe Biden launched a “Cancer Moonshot” initiative in February that aims to reduce the death toll from cancer by 50% over the next 25 years. This is a series of posts with cancer experts offering suggestions to help Moonshot succeed. The coming 3approx Forbes China Healthcare Summit on Aug. 27 (Aug. 26 ET) this year will feature “New International Directions for a Revitalized Moonshot” as the main topic. Registration is free. For more information, contact: [email protected]

Cancer takes many forms, but one common need that would accelerate progress is data sharing, believes Dr. Martin Murphy, founder of elite US cancer research organizations and longtime advocate of international collaboration to fight cancer.

Specifically, Murphy says the Cancer Moonshot provides an opportunity to establish federal requirements that require data sharing as part of government research grant awards. He also believes Moonshot should promote international data sharing.

“First, the moonshot should get behind the importance of data sharing and make it a critical function of federal grantmaking,” Murphy said in a recent interview. “When you receive grants, you don’t just share data. It should be in a specified format and style and in a polished manner so that this data is researchable and aggregatable. Today we get big data like this: “You have your pile and I have mine. If we assemble a combined pile into a synthetic larger pile, that’s where it becomes very useful.”

“It is possible. Everyone knows how to do it, but you have to do it. And Moonshot can do that because it can add a lollipop by saying, “There’s going to be additional funding for these types of things that are needed now,” Murphy said.

“That this is a wonderful opportunity for the moonshot across the board – for all types of clinical data. I don’t know of any patient who has ever said, “I don’t want anyone to ever use my data.” It’s quite the opposite,” said Murphy, co-founder and former CEO of Roundtable on Cancer and former principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health. He is also a co-founder of the Shanghai Pilot Health Promotion Center, the independent China counterpart of the Roundtable that promotes US-China collaboration in cancer research.

Not surprisingly, Murphy’s second proposal focuses on international cooperation. “It would be a great improvement” on the Cancer Moonshot program, he said. “We really should analyze the obstacles to international cooperation in the field of data sharing,” Murphy believes.

“Some countries don’t share genomic data,” he said. “Well, there’s genomic data and then there’s genomic data. I don’t necessarily want to see the entire human genome of the Han lineage in China. I don’t even want to see high-level data. I only want to see excerpts. If it’s related to lung cancer, I want to know if it’s a mutation of the KRAS G12C locus because now we have a drug that targets that cancer cell.”

Advances in identifying KRAS mutations through the U.S.-China collaboration have helped speed up treatments, Murphy said. “Think of the patients who are experiencing new sunrises as a result of coordinated studies,” he said. “If that became the norm, Wow! Wow! What a moonshot! It’s not a moonshot for the United States – it’s for the world. The moon is not just the US moon. It is the moon all around the globe.”

“That would be a difference,” Murphy continued. “If we have a US centric, what part of the moon will you hit? Because it’s only supposed to be the US part of the moon? No, it’s the world.”

“So this is a wonderful opportunity to say, ‘Yes, we understand that there will be differences (between countries). Let’s find out how far apart we are, and we’ll actually discover how close we are,'” concluded Murphy.

See related posts:

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@rflannerychina

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