USPTO Innovation Lab. CREDIT: Jay Premack/USPTO

Unlocking Patent Data to Spur Cancer Breakthroughs

During his final State of the Union, President Obama reminded all of us that we are not alone in this fight against cancer, and that if we work together, answers are within our reach. Led by Vice President Biden, the Cancer Moonshot Task Force aims to speed up cancer advances and do within the next five years what would otherwise take a decade. At the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, we are harnessing the power of patent data. As a Cancer Moonshot partner, we launched the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge last month, to enlist the public’s help to reveal new insights into investments around cancer therapy research and treatments.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle K. Lee during an interview in her office. CREDIT: Jay Premack/USPTO

By working together, we can overcome the barriers that currently impede progress towards treatment and we can identify innovative ways to foster and advance solutions. From the call for open government by the President in an Executive Order in 2013, the USPTO is continually seeking to make information resources easily available and usable, to spur entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery, and in turn improve Americans’ lives. The Cancer Moonshot is powerful example of open government — and I’m inspired by how private companies, universities, institutions and foundations, have all stepped up to collaborate and contribute.

The USPTO recently built a platform, the USPTO Developer Hub, to dive into what very well may be the world’s largest repository of data on innovation and research and development technology trends. The USPTO launched its Cancer Moonshot Challenge on the Developer Hub last month. We released a curated data set consisting of 269,353 patent documents (published patent applications and granted patents) including its own cancer moonshot API (application program interface). The data included detailed information on published patent applications and granted patents relevant to cancer research and development, such as drugs, diagnostics, surgical devices, data analytics, and genomic-based inventions.

We challenged participants in the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge to reveal new insights through linked data sets and interactive visualizations demonstrating how we could leverage IP data to catalyze new innovations while breaking down silos and allow all of us to fight cancer together through share information and provide hope to those suffering from cancer. The result was new ways to explore and identify how intellectual property data can be better leveraged and combined with other data sets to support cancer research and the development of new commercialized therapies.

Cancer Moonshot Taskforce Meeting

Congratulations to the winners of the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge. All entries can be found on the USPTO Developer Hub visualization page.

1st Place — $5,000

Dolcera visualize how the genetics and epidemiology of cancer relate to levels of research funding, patenting, and clinical testing. Collecting and combining valuable data from multiple sources, Dolcera provide engaging visualizations that offer clear and meaningful insights regarding cancer research priorities and breakthrough technologies in treatment and diagnostics.

Cancer Moonshot Challenge Visualization entry by Dolcera

2nd Place — $3,000

Booz Allen Hamilton and Omnity construct and visualize networks of cancer-related patents and federal research grants based on NIH co-funding and the degree of linguistic similarity between patent documents. The solution depicts how the effects of one federal research grant are multiplied through the dissemination of knowledge and discoveries in an interconnected community of researchers.

Cancer Moonshot Challenge Visualization entry by Booz Allen Hamilton and Omnity

3rd Place — $2,000

Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center illustrate how the epidemiology of cancer mortality relates to patenting and funding timelines. The interactive visualization provides insight regarding funding, research, and innovation in certain types of cancer.

Cancer Moonshot Challenge Visualization entry by Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Honorable Mention:

D. Dzamba, A. Haiduk, Z. Kulsariyeva, A. Leszczynska, L. Ramasamy, J. Smid, O. Smrz, and H. Taborda illustrate how the percentage of cancer-related patents that have resulted in FDA approval has changed over time, as part of a series of trend analyses. It was judged the best among a series of submissions that emphasized visualizing the USPTO curated data set.

Cancer Moonshot Challenge Visualization entry by D. Dzamba, A. Haiduk, Z. Kulsariyeva, A. Leszczynska, L. Ramasamy, J. Smid, O. Smrz, and H. Taborda

Honorable Mention:

Matthew Whitehead and Daniel Johnson use neural networks and linguistics to visualize and compare networks of patent documents centered on individual cancer-related concepts. It is honored for the unique and innovative methodology applied.

Cancer Moonshot Challenge Visualization entry by Matthew Whitehead and Daniel Johnson

Ongoing efforts with our other Moonshot Task Force partners means the USPTO will continue to explore, learn and build upon all the submissions to further empower the federal government in new inspiring ways — as well as the medical, research, and data communities. The goal is to be able to make more precise funding and policy decisions based on the commercialization lifecycle of the most promising treatment and to help reveal new insights to guide public policy and research with a goal of doubling the rate of progress toward a cure. Together, we are building a structure in which patients, researchers, and clinicians are able to seamlessly share information on treatments and outcomes to accelerate research, guide treatment decisions, and improve cancer outcomes. The USPTO Moonshot Challenge comes on the heels of the USPTO’s Patents 4 Patients program, which was launched in July and aims to cut in half the time it takes to review patent applications in cancer therapy.

As a Moonshot Task Force partner, we are working to harness the power of patents and accelerate the process for protecting the intellectual property underpinning cancer immunotherapy breakthroughs. We want to make more therapies available to more patients, bring life-saving treatments to patients, and improve the ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. Intellectual property data is often an early indicator of meaningful research and development, and by combining it with other economic and funding data, this can create and illuminate new trend lines for cancer treatments and diagnostics. And now, working with data and technology innovators, this open data platform is changing how medical and research data can be shared and used to reach new breakthroughs.

As Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, Michelle K. Lee is the first woman to serve as Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the country’s history. Director Lee provides leadership and oversight to one of the largest intellectual property offices in the world, with over 12,000 employees and an annual budget of over $3 billion. She also serves as the principal advisor to the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on domestic and international intellectual property policy matters.