Big Data

The ACCC IO Institute recognizes the need for industry and academic leaders to collaborate and share information to improve outcomes for patients, particularly during the design of clinical trials. Collaboration among thought leaders exploring the potential applications of Big Data to benefit patients being treated with immunotherapy to better answer questions about safety and efficacy of treatment options.

Meet the members of the Big Data Working Group.


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Ivo Abraham, Phd, RN
Professor of Pharmacy & Medicine, University of Arizona

Ivo Abraham, a nurse by profession and an outcomes and effectiveness researcher by trade, is Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, where he is also affiliated with the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research, the Arizona Cancer Center, and the Center for Applied Genomics and Genetic Medicine. Dr. Abraham has served as regular or visiting professor at universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia. A native of Belgium, he received his BS (psychiatric nursing) from the Catholic University of Leuven, and his MS (psychiatric-mental health nursing) and PhD (clinical research) from the University of Michigan.

His research program has been funded continuously since 1984 by governmental agencies, foundations, and corporations worldwide. He has served in the U.S. as appointed and ad hoc reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Veterans Administration. Additionally he has served as an appointed and ad hoc reviewer in Europe for the EU FP7 and HORIZON2020 funding programs; and in Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, Ireland, and Catalunya (Spain) for national funding agencies. He has worked as expert advisor to the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a joint € 5.3 billion (US$ 6.3 billion) undertaking of the European Union and the biopharmaceutical industry to stimulate innovation in human therapeutics since the Initiative’s inception in 2008.

He currently serves as the associate editor for quantitative methods for JAMA Dermatology. He has co-authored more than 350 articles, over 75 chapters, and 30+ books and monographs. His educational and scientific honors and awards include an Invitational Research Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2007-2008), which he conducted at Hyogo University and Aomori University.

Tara Kaufmann
Tara Kaufmann, MD, MS
Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Medicine
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Tara Kaufmann, MD, MS, is a hematology/oncology fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Her interest is in improving methods of integrating timely and appropriate palliative care into the oncology treatment course for patients with advanced cancer. Her research aims to use patient-reported outcomes as a screening tool and trigger for supportive care services for patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Dr. Kaufmann received her medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco and completed residency in internal medicine at the University of North Carolina. She then completed a palliative care fellowship at Duke before moving back to University of Pennsylvania for a fellowship in hematology/oncology.

Nikesh Kotecha
Nikesh Kotecha, PhD
Vice President, Informatics
Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Nikesh Kotecha, PhD, currently serves as vice president of informatics at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Prior to joining Parker Institute, Dr. Kotecha was the co-founder of Cytobank, Inc., an analytics company building solutions around single-cell proteomics and cytometry, two technologies that are revolutionizing how we understand disease mechanisms and have broad implications for treatments in cancer and autoimmunity.

Dr. Kotecha is also a consulting faculty member in the Computational and Systems Immunology program at Stanford University where he helps train the next generation of scientists on methods, approaches, and analyses in an era of high-throughput measurements and big data. Dr. Kotecha received his doctorate in biomedical informatics from Stanford University, his bachelor’s in biomedical engineering from Boston University, and has over 15 years of experience building analytic applications to address scientific and informatics problems in healthcare.

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Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, MBioeth
Director of Clinical Research, West Cancer Center
Associate Vice Chancellor of Research; Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Memphis, TN

Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, MBioeth, is director of clinical research at West Cancer Center in Memphis, TN. An internationally recognized cancer researcher, Dr. VanderWalde holds a dual appointment with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as associate vice chancellor of clinical research and assistant professor of hematology/oncology. His primary research is in melanoma and immunotherapy, more specifically on immunotherapy combinations, mechanisms of resistance, and prediction of toxicities.

He previously served as a United States medical lead and clinical research medical director with Amgen, directing U.S. global development of talimogene laherparepvec, a novel viral-based immunotherapeutic that has since been approved by the FDA and EMA for treatment of melanoma. He continues to participate extensively in drug development as a consultant for George Clinical, a branch of the George Institute.

Dr. VanderWalde received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine after graduating cum laude from Harvard University. He completed his internal medicine training at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a joint fellowship in hematology/oncology at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

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Matthew R. Zibelman, MD
Medical Oncologist
Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology/Oncology
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, PA

Matthew R. Zibelman, MD, is a genitourinary medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA, where he specializes in renal cell carcinoma and urothelial carcinoma with a particular clinical and research interest in immunotherapy.

Dr. Zibelman has published numerous articles on immunotherapy for GU cancers and is the principal investigator for two ongoing, investigator-initiated combination immunotherapy trials. He is also the PI for a grant geared at standardizing management of immune-related adverse events across his institution, utilizing and then providing immunotherapy event management education to patients, staff, and non-oncologists using a variety of media platforms.

He received his medical school training from Temple University in Philadelphia and completed his fellowship training in medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Insights from this working group

  • Big Data, Deep Analytics, Better Outcomes
    By Ivo Abraham, PhD, RN

    The promises of Big Data are intuitively appealing: (virtually) unlimited data that will enable us to answer (virtually) any questions that we may have. Unfortunately, by and of themselves, Big Data are rather useless. They require Deep Analytics: inquiring people equipped with engines of analysis to explore, discover, and invent.

  • Powering Personalized Immuno-Oncology: Big Data’s Role
    By Nikesh Kotecha, PhD
    Determining the best personalized treatment for a patient will require input from a team of physicians, ideally with access to a patient’s information over time and across multiple modalities. Collecting data in a consistent, secure, and scalable manner with the ability to share across disciplines will be vital to furthering personalized medicine. 
  • Harnessing Real-Time, Real-World Data to Improve Care
    By Matthew R. Zibelman, MD

    As a genitourinary medical oncologist specializing in immunotherapy for kidney and bladder cancers, I am continually striving for more ways to connect with and learn from my patients. The emerging availability of immuno-oncology (IO) drugs for the conditions I treat, as well as many other cancer types, has generated tremendous excitement amongst patients and oncologists, but there still is so much we don’t know.