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PIONEER and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Started a Big Data Collaboration to Fight Prostate Cancer Worldwide

PIONEER and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Started a Big Data Collaboration to Fight Prostate Cancer Worldwide

The European funded prostate cancer project PIONEER – Big Data in Prostate Cancer and the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong have signed a data sharing agreement to ensure more data diversity and a better representation of men worldwide. The cooperation already started in October 2022 and is now taking shape through the harmonisation of the data sets followed by their integration into the PIONEER Big Data Platform. The provision of the 2000 data from Asia shall mark the starting point of further European-Asian cooperation in this field.

PIONEER (Prostate Cancer DIagnOsis and TreatmeNt Enhancement through the Power of Big Data in EuRope) is an European Network of Excellence for Big Data in Prostate Cancer, consisting of 36 private and public stakeholders in prostate cancer research and clinical care from across 9 countries. Through unlocking the potential of Big Data and the generation of Real-World Evidence, PIONEER aims to change the prostate cancer landscape to improve the health and social care received by all prostate cancer patients and their families.

So far 27 data sets are available in the PIONEER Big Data Platform and four data sets are currently being mapped to the OMOP-CDM. The Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) Common Data Model (CDM) is an open community data standard, designed to standardize the structure and content of observational data and to enable efficient analyses that can produce reliable evidence.


PIONEER data sources

Overview figure of the PIONEER data sources

To ensure the highest possible diversity of data, the international project team is always grateful for the provision of additional data by external providers, as has now been done by the Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Dr. Susan Evans Axelsson, PIONEER Private Project Leader and Medical Advisor at Bayer AB:

“There is a measurable impact of having diversity in data, which allows for the assessment of differences across geographies and populations. This is especially true for men with prostate cancer, since it is such a heterogeneous disease. CUHK, is the first, but hopefully not the last partner from Asia to join PIONEER. Their data contribution and active involvement in the PIONEER project is helping to ensure the robustness of the platform by helping to provide a true representation of men worldwide. By building a data platform that contains data from men around the world, questions can be answered to identify essential differences in populations, for instance, differences in drug response, drug related adverse events, treatment availability, therapeutic options and clinical care across geographies. We are excited about this collaboration, and we welcome Dr. Jeremy Teoh and his team at CUHK with open arms.”

The Chinese University of Hong Kong contributes to the central PIONEER Big Data platform by providing observational data from their Prostate Cancer Registry. The registry includes data from 2,000 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer of all stages collected since 2016. The two partners report on the collaboration so far and invite further Asian data contributors to join the team and support to close critical evidence gaps in prostate cancer by analysing large sets of real-world data.

Jeremy Teoh, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of CUHK in Hong Kong:
“The PIONEER project represents the largest database in prostate cancer. With big data analysis, PIONEER can provide valuable information regarding the management of prostate cancer. Ethnic differences exist and it is important to incorporate data from Asian patients to this dataset. PIONEER values collaboration with Asian partners and I strongly encourage other Asian centres to join this important global initiative. With PIONEER, we will understand a lot more about the differences in the biology of prostate cancer between Caucasian and Asian patients.”

With more than 1.4 million new prostate cancer cases and almost 400 thousand deaths per year, prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide. There is thus an urgent need to exploit the potential of big data for a better diagnose and treatment of prostate cancer. By applying advanced data analytics, and developing a data-driven platform of unparalleled scale, quality and diversity, PIONEER will empower meaningful improvement in clinical practice, prostate cancer disease-related outcomes, and health-economic outcomes across the healthcare landscapes.

PIONEER is part of the Innovative Medicine Initiative’s (IMI’s) “Big Data for Better Outcomes” (BD4BO) umbrella programme. The BD4BO mission is to improve health outcomes and healthcare systems in Europe by maximising the potential of Big Data.

If you have data sets of prostate cancer patients already mapped to OMOP-CDM and are interested to collaborate, please contact!

Only if we work together and share data, we can build up a big data platform that can provide the information we need to combat prostate cancer.