Stanford-AstraZeneca Collaboration Funds Two New Projects

Daniel Rubin, MD, MS

The Stanford Center for Clinical Research (SCCR), led by Kenneth Mahaffey, MD (professor of cardiovascular medicine), and AstraZeneca are pleased to announce that they have entered into the second year of their collaboration. The collaboration focuses on cardio-metabolic and respiratory diseases, oncology, mobile health (mHealth), innovations in clinical trial design and operations, big data and novel data analytics approaches, and innovative education and training initiatives.  Two million dollars in funding has been provided to support six innovative research projects by Stanford investigators over the three-year collaboration. The collaboration provides up to $260,000 to each project for its one-year duration.

The collaboration committee has recently selected two research projects to fund for 2017-2018, the second year of this collaboration.

1) “A System to Enable Distributed Precision Medicine,” PI: Daniel Rubin, MD, MS (associate professor of biomedical data science, of radiology and of medicine).

Dr. Rubin’s project aims to take advantage of electronic health records from multiple institutions—including academic and community-based practices—to build statistical models that will relate patient treatments to outcomes. Focusing on metastatic breast cancer, Rubin says that “metastatic cancers such as breast cancer are very challenging for making optimal treatment decisions since clinical trial evidence is scant. We will apply our infrastructure to compute predictive statistical models that help identify best treatments for metastatic breast cancer patients, such as the decision about when to switch from endocrine therapy to chemotherapy, which chemotherapy drug to administer, and when to stop a treatment or start another.” Building on the results of this project, he hopes to ultimately expand this infrastructure nationally to develop decision models for a variety of cancers and other diseases.

Tina Hernandez-Boussard, PhD

 2) “Machine Learning Classifiers for Automated Staging of Prostate Cancer Patients,” PI: Tina Hernandez-Boussard, PhD (associate professor of medicine, of surgery and of biomedical data science).

Dr. Hernandez-Boussard's project proposes to build a tool that will automate the currently manual and extremely labor-intensive staging of prostate cancer using both clinical and pathological data captured in the EHR. Automated staging, says Hernandez-Boussard, “will benefit patient care by improving care coordination, physician workload by reducing time spent manually documenting cancer stages, hospital certification by improving quality metric reporting, and national cancer surveillance efforts by increasing registry reporting.”

The awardees for Year 1 (2016-2017) of the collaboration were:

1) “Smartphone guided cardiac rehabilitation and medication adherence management after acute coronary syndrome,” PI: Mintu Turakhia, MD.

2) “Learning Personalized Treatment Guidelines,” PI: Nigam Shah, MBBS, PhD.

The collaboration will start accepting the next round of research proposal applications in November 2017 for Year 3. Contact Nicole Ventre, MS, at with any questions about this collaboration and the proposal submission process and timeline.