Amazon and Microsoft Helping the National Cancer Institute Moonshot Initiative

Illustration of mesothelioma research

According to the recent Cancer Moonshot Task Force report, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft have teamed up with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop an online repository for genomic data.

The report said, “Taken together, these current efforts and future plans signify an initial down payment for accelerating gains in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer—that is, aiming to achieve 10 years of progress in half the time.”

Amazon and Microsoft are creating a model “to maintain and share cancer genomic and associated data on NCI’s data sharing platforms.” Genomic analysis as well as visualization and computation will be much easier for researchers to access and mine.

This new mathematical information can be used in Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative to combat cancer. It was announced earlier this year and discussed in President Obama’s State of the Union Address, asking for nearly $1 billion of extra spending over the next couple of years.

This initiative involves cancer centers, advocacy groups, government agencies, and companies all working together to coordinate efforts to dismantle the barriers that often slow this process down. It’s heavily involved in researching immunotherapy and other emerging treatments.

For example, Keytruda® immunotherapy is seeing increasing success in treating mesothelioma patients. This type of treatment is a way of helping to boost or kickstart the body’s natural immune system to help it fight the deadly cancer cells.

Here’s an infographic from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance to help explain the relationship between immunotherapy, research efforts, and the benefits to rare forms of cancer.

“The Cancer Moonshot is about the entire cancer ecosystem working together to use our resources and tools intelligently and aggressively to catalyze improvement in care and our understanding of cancer,” stated the report.

A web service to translate clinical notes into standardized data is underway through the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Then the Department of Energy and NCI will use the database information to calculate drug reactions.

The Blood Profiling Atlas aspect should assist with aggregating and increasing access to 13 clinical studies’ tumor data, exosome assays, clinical data, and sample preparation.

The report noted, “Ultimately, through the creation of new paradigms for generating, sharing, and integrating research and clinical data to enhance patient care, the Cancer Moonshot can accelerate the delivery of effective cancer prevention strategies, diagnostics, and treatments to patients in communities around the world.”

To learn more about the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, see our Cancer Moonshot Infographic.