Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Biden Cancer Initiative join forces for cancer data nonprofit

Four leading academic institutions and philanthropies have teamed up to launch a cancer research nonprofit, dubbed Count Me In.

The philanthropy Emerson Collective, Cambridge, Mass.-based Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Biden Cancer Initiative and Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will lead the organization's effort to recruit more than 100,000 cancer patients from the U.S. and Canada to share their medical records and tumor, blood and saliva samples.

Count Me In will de-identify this patient data and subsequently make it available to biomedical researchers worldwide through public databases — such as the National Cancer Institute's Genomic Data Commons — to drive advancements in cancer research. A cornerstone of the program is maintaining a working relationship between patients and researchers, who will communicate via online groups.

More than 5,700 patients have participated in Count Me In's projects to date. The organization's four current projects focus on metastatic breast cancer, angiosarcoma, metastatic prostate cancer and gastroesophageal cancer. In the next few years, Count Me In plans to launch additional projects on all major cancer types, along with some rare cancers.

Count Me In, which was conceived by the Emerson Collective and the Broad Institute, said it is supported by philanthropy and does not sell patient information.

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