RTI and Project Data Sphere collaboration yields enhancements to the analytic utility of clinical trial content

Advances health disparities research in cancer patients

October 09, 2018

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—October 9, 2018—RTI International, a leading nonprofit research institute, today announced the most recent innovations that have been achieved through a collaboration with Project Data Sphere, LLC (PDS), a research platform that provides the research community with broad access to de-identified patient-level data from oncology clinical trials and related analytic tools. The collaboration now permits the inclusion of social, economic, and health care-related data, thus enabling researchers to assess the impact of socioeconomic factors on cancer survival and related outcomes. An overview of this collaboration was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology.

“The RTI and PDS joint initiative empowers the PDS user community to investigate a broader array of research questions regarding factors that may impact patient outcomes, and to inform studies on identifying health-related disparities,” said Steven Cohen, PhD, lead study author and

Vice President, Division for Statistical and Data Sciences at RTI. “Using statistical linkage and model-based techniques, patient-level records in selected PDS datasets have been linked to those of comparable cancer survivors, and are thereby augmented with survey content on social, economic, and health-related characteristics obtained from the national Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).”

These new analytically enhanced PDS data resources enable more targeted analyses designed to examine questions such as how disparities in cancer patients' access to health care and income impact patient outcomes in specific phase III clinical trials. It also allows for further study on what variations in patient outcomes are associated with specific demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related factors.

Project Data Sphere (PDS), formed in 2014, provides data rich in measures that characterize the clinical trials under study. Data providers are required to de-identify patient-level data, including demographic data, prior to delivering datasets to the platform. Project Data Sphere was established to catalyze cancer research by bringing together diverse minds and technologies to help unleash the full potential of existing clinical trial data. With the newly enhanced data resources, the PDS data platform will further serve to advance cancer research by permitting more extensive analyses of related treatment protocols. Support for this effort was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.