Nov 20, 2017
ASCO is awash in data. We have data about our members, how and where they practice, the quality of the work they do, and the outcomes of the patients under their care. We have data on decades of research advances represented by ASCO abstracts and journal articles. Yet, ASCO’s data assets have been poorly organized and largely inaccessible to our members. We aim to change that with the launch this year of ASCO’s Center for Research and Analytics (CENTRA) in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer. Through CENTRA, requests can now be made for data from a variety of ASCO sources such as ASCO’s quality programs, the annual census of oncology practices, scientific meeting abstracts, and, eventually, ASCO’s Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization (TAPUR) study. CENTRA’s mission is to conquer cancer by generating, integrating, analyzing, and sharing oncology data to foster innovation in research and patient care. ASCO’s growing repository of cancer-related data represents significant untapped potential to improve the quality of cancer care by filling knowledge gaps that persist in cancer care today. Through the development and application of high quality evidence we hope to drive innovation in cancer care, inform policy, and improve patient outcomes.
Since its launch in January 2017, CENTRA has achieved many important milestones. A team of 20 working under the direction of ASCO senior vice president and chief medical officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO, has catalogued and annotated ASCO’s data assets, obtained ASCO Board of Directors approval of an Information Sharing Policy, developed a process to receive, review and fulfill requests for ASCO data managed by dedicated staff, established a Division of Biostatistics and Data Management led by Dr. Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, an accomplished cancer biostatistician, and initiated a process to support surveys of ASCO members for research purposes. CENTRA staff also support the TAPUR Study, the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI), and will assist with analyses of real-world data obtained from CancerLinQ. Team members work closely with ASCO volunteers in the Cancer Research Committee, the Research Community Forum, and the Workforce Advisory Group, and this year alone completed important projects on modernizing eligibility criteria for clinical trials, simplifying adverse event reporting, improving team-based cancer care, and promoting the role of observational research to improve the evidence base for cancer treatment.
With the launch of CENTRA as the “research hub” of ASCO, we aim to significantly increase ASCO’s capacity to support the research programs of ASCO members as well as ASCO’s own research initiatives and to increase the utility, accessibility and impact of ASCO data. For more information, contact us at CENTRA@asco.org or visit the ASCO Data Repository page.