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
Tucson, AZ

Ivo Abraham, PhD, 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, 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 a 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.

Dr. Abraham’s research program has been funded continuously since 1984 by governmental agencies, foundations, and corporations worldwide. He has served in the U.S. as an appointed and ad hoc reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Mental Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Veterans Administration. He has also been an expert advisor to the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a joint undertaking of the European Union and the biopharmaceutical industry, to stimulate innovation in human therapeutics.

Dr. Abraham currently serves as the associate editor for quantitative methods for JAMA Dermatology. He has co-authored more than 350 articles, 75 chapters, and 30 books and monographs.

Tara Kaufmann
Tara Kaufmann, MD, MSCE
Medical Oncologist, Breast Oncology,
Livestrong Cancer Institutes
Austin, TX

Tara Kaufmann, MD MSCE is a board-certified breast oncologist and a part of the CaLM Care Team within UT Health Austin’s Livestrong Cancer Institutes. She specializes in treating patients with breast cancer. Additionally, Dr. Kaufmann is an assistant professor in the Dell Medical School Department of Oncology.

Dr. Kaufmann earned her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and her master’s in clinical epidemiology with a concertation in patient-centered outcomes research from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a residency in internal medicine at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed by fellowships in both palliative medicine at Duke University and medical oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing her fellowships, she served as an Innovation faculty member with the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I) and as an instructor for the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medical Oncology.

Dr. Kaufmann’s research focuses on leveraging patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and novel care delivery models to improve supportive care services and cancer care delivery for patients with advanced cancer. Her master’s work was comprised of an analysis of PRO data from a nationally representative palliative care registry to identify PRO phenotypes of oncology patients with palliative care needs. She also led an implementation science project to understand patient perspectives around unplanned acute care utilization (i.e., emergency department and hospital visits) with the goal of developing a novel care delivery model that aligns with patients’ needs. She has research experience with PROs, latent class analysis, qualitative methods, and implementation science. She also has expertise in PRO measurement in breast clinical trials.

Nikesh Kotecha
Nikesh Kotecha, PhD
VP Informatics
Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
San Francisco, CA

Nikesh Kotecha, PhD, currently serves as Vice President of Informatics at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI). He leads informatics efforts to realize the institute’s mission to accelerate the development of breakthrough immune therapies and turn cancer into a curable disease. Dr. Kotecha’s focus on delivering computational and molecular technologies to the healthcare community drives him to work at the intersection of medicine, informatics, entrepreneurship, and education.

Prior to joining PICI, Dr. Kotecha was the CEO & Co-founder of Cytobank Inc. (part of Danaher Life Sciences), an analytics company that builds solutions around single-cell proteomics and cytometry, two technologies that are revolutionizing how we understand disease mechanisms. Dr. Kotecha is also a consulting faculty member in the Computational and Systems Immunology Program at Stanford University and an advisor at StartXMed, a Stanford startup accelerator.

Dr. Kotech earned a PhD in biomedical informatics from Stanford University and a BS in biomedical engineering from Boston University. He has more than 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

  • Predictive Modeling: What, Why, How
    By Ivo Abraham, PhD, RN

    Envision a day that cancer clinicians can ask an app to advise on immuno-oncology (IO) treatment options for a patient. That day may not be far off. Big data, deep analytics, and predictive modeling methods are transforming how cancer clinicians weigh treatment options.

  • Predictive Modeling to Inform IO Regimen Choice
    By Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, MBioeth

    Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) are extremely common in patients being treated with checkpoint inhibitors for advanced melanoma. The type, quality, and severity of these adverse events, however, varies by treatment regimen and by patient.

  • 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.