Vice President Joe Biden said cancer treatments could be vastly and quickly improved if more health data is shared widely, but “cancer politics” makes that difficult.
Biden spoke Monday at the seventh annual Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C., which promotes using data and evaluation to drive health policy and practice. President Barack Obama has tasked Biden to lead what the administration calls a “moonshot” to cure cancer.
“We have to share it to find solutions,” Biden said. “Most major cancer centers don't have an easy way and, in most cases, the motivation to share information.”
They should open up their data and work to eliminate technological roadblocks that keep data and conclusions in their own silos, he said.
Data collection, labeling and processing needs to be standardized, and insights and conclusions drawn from the information should be shared quickly. Biden said he is working to bring together industry, government, academic institutions and investors to find solutions.
“I desperately need your input,” he said. “Every day thousands of people are dying. Millions more are desperately looking for hope.”
When meeting with world leaders on various subjects, they often bring up the cancer initiative and ask how their countries can join and contribute. Biden was at the Vatican last month to discuss medical breakthroughs.
The world is on the cusp of a significant breakthrough that will save lives, Biden said.
Greg Simon, the executive director of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, likewise pushed for data-sharing when he was appointed to the initiative.
The technology for sharing has increased exponentially, but the willingness to share has not, he said then.