Daren Glenister

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot

In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around the goal of finding a cure for cancer. President Obama put his second-in-command, Vice President Joe Biden, in charge of “Mission Control” for the cancer moonshot efforts.

Though this is certainly an ambitious undertaking, what’s encouraging is that the project isn’t starting from scratch. Researchers and clinicians have already made remarkable progress in the forms of research, clinical trials, drug development and more. There already have been many masterful achievements that propel this effort to its goal. For example, the successful mapping of the human genome nearly two decades ago provided a tremendous jumping-off point for customized cancer treatments and potential cures. But in order to land this moonshot, there must be significant innovation in how all of these stakeholders communicate, collaborate and share important information.

hipaa-cancer-care

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Silo-breaking: as vital as funding?

Two of the biggest challenges of this project are to provide increased funding to the strategic participants, and to increase collaboration and information sharing among the numerous research teams and clinicians all around the world. Vice President Biden has said that he wants to “break down silos and bring all the cancer fighters together—to work together, share information, and end cancer as we know it.” The goal is to double the pace of progress, or as he put it: “to make a decade worth of advances in five years.

Those of us in the cloud computing community are especially invested in the efforts to increase coordination, eliminate silos and open up access to information. These things can only be done through improving upon and innovating technology solutions, so that storing and managing data doesn’t kill productivity. Let’s consider some of the issues that will affect what underlying technologies can be utilized to further drive collaboration and support access to information.

Protecting massive amounts of private data

A project of this magnitude will have massive amounts of data, generated by a multitude of sources. These large data sets must use common data elements (data descriptors, or metadata) to ensure that researchers are comparing apples to apples. Toward this end, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has developed the Common Data Elements (CDE) to serve as a controlled vocabulary of data descriptors for cancer research. The CDE will help facilitate data interchange and inter-operability between cancer research centers.

Big data and learning algorithms will enable researchers to identify patterns and anomalies that, for instance, may help to identify patients who can benefit from standard treatments, or whose tumors require a different approach. Given that these large data sets will contain highly personal patient health information that can’t be anonymized, they will need to be protected with the strongest measures for data privacy to protect patients‘ rights and to maintain HIPAA compliance.

Preserving data integrity through controlled access

collaborate

Of course, data integrity is of paramount concern. The data and other forms of information will come from numerous sources, and technology solutions will be needed to ensure that it maintains its consistency—that it isn’t inappropriately accessed and changed or corrupted. This means that access control to research information is critical. Yes, the project aims to increase sharing of data, but it needs to be shared with the right people in the right ways. Much of the information will be in documents, not databases, and this means access control, version control, and document retractions and expirations are important features for the underlying collaboration technology. And of course, all this must be done with strict HIPAA compliancy and patient privacy.

Setting content free to get work done

The time spent on collaborating and sharing information has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the last two decades, according to Harvard Business Review. Too much time is wasted trying to piece together disconnected information among team members who are scattered across the globe, leaving little time for actual work to get done.

Teams need virtual workspaces built for specific business and clinical research processes. Think in terms of flowing content across the extended ecosystem, instead of just improving systems of record behind the firewall. To take on this initiative, the clinical research community requires what some industry analysts call “systems of engagement,” meaning information only comes to life when it is put to use and acted upon. But many technologies fail to account for specific use cases (such as global clinical research) or the security and compliance needs of information in motion (such as confidential patient data).

In this race to exterminate cancer, the first challenge that must be resolved is to control the flow of information across the complete content lifecycle — even after external sharing — while also setting that information free so those who access it can increase productivity. Solving the collaboration challenge will ultimately allow researchers to remain focused on the important work of the cancer moonshot initiative.

The countdown is on…

By Daren Glenister

Daren Glenister

Daren is the Field Chief Technology Officer for Synchronoss. Daren serves as a customer advocate, working with enterprise organizations to evangelize data collaboration solutions and translate customer business challenges into product requirements.

Glenister brings more than 20 years of industry experience and leadership in security, compliance, secure collaboration and enterprise software, having worked with many Fortune 1000 companies to turn business challenges into real-world solutions.

View Website

CONTRIBUTORS

How Will the Internet of Things Change The World of Trucking?

How Will the Internet of Things Change The World of Trucking?

IoT Transportation Ever since sat-navs became commonplace in cars around the world, the relationship between vehicles and wireless data has ...
Cukes and the Cloud

Cukes and the Cloud

The Cloud, through bringing vast processing power to bear inexpensively, is enabling artificial intelligence. But, don’t think Skynet and the ...
Cross-Site Scripting - Why Is It A Serious Security Threat For Big Data Applications?

Cross-Site Scripting – Why Is It A Serious Security Threat For Big Data Applications?

Security Threat And Big Data Applications IBM, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft - and the list goes on. All these leading ...
Machine Learning Is The New Proving Ground For Competitive Advantage

Machine Learning Is The New Proving Ground For Competitive Advantage

Machine Learning Is The New Proving Ground 50% of organizations are planning to use machine learning to better understand customers ...
SPIES LIKE US ALL AGREE: “CLOUD HAS BEEN A GODSEND

SPIES LIKE US ALL AGREE: “CLOUD HAS BEEN A GODSEND

Cloud Has Been A Godsend “Cloud has been a godsend for folks trying to implement systems quickly and for us ...
What is the Benefit of Modern Data Warehousing?

What is the Benefit of Modern Data Warehousing?

Modern Data Warehousing Access to relevant customer and industry information is the primary competitive advantage businesses have over their direct ...
What Is the Future of Data Warehousing?

What Is the Future of Data Warehousing?

Data Warehousing There is no denying it – we live in The Age of the Customer. Consumers all over the ...
Cashless Society Part 2: Pros and Cons

Cashless Society Part 2: Pros and Cons

The Cashless Society Having looking at our movement towards a cashless society in Part 1, I thought we should turn ...

NEWS

Cloud Security Alliance Issues New Code of Conduct for GDPR Compliance

Cloud Security Alliance Issues New Code of Conduct for GDPR Compliance

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world's leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices ...
OVH Announces New Hosted Private Cloud Offerings for US Market

OVH Announces New Hosted Private Cloud Offerings for US Market

OVH delivers next-generation services for hosted private cloud, disaster recovery, and hybridity leveraging industry-leading solutions RESTON, VA--(Marketwired - Nov 20, ...
HPE CEO Whitman's surprise exit stumps Wall Street

HPE CEO Whitman’s surprise exit stumps Wall Street

(Reuters) - Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) fell 6 percent on Wednesday after Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman’s ...

SPONSORS

AT&T Pinpoints 4 Key Elements To Achieving Security With The Internet of Things

AT&T Pinpoints 4 Key Elements To Achieving Security With The Internet of Things

Internet of Things Security The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming a part of many of our business processes, ...
Scale your Windows Azure application

Help Your Business Improve Security By Choosing The Right Cloud Provider

Choosing The Right Cloud Provider Security issues have always been a key aspect of business planning; failure to properly protect ...
How Printers Help Hackers Hide In Plain Sight

How Printers Help Hackers Hide In Plain Sight

Printers and Hackers Spies and thieves often do their best work by hiding in plain sight. No one suspects the ...