U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced on Monday that a new open-access database for cancer research has been launched to provide medical scientists enough information about the disease to help them develop better treatments.

Known as the Genomic Data Commons (GDC), the new database is part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and it features various clinical and genomic data collected from 12,000 cancer patients. It also contains detailed analyses regarding the molecular composition of different forms of cancers as well as information on the treatments provided to patients and how they responded to each one.

Biden made the announcement during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He said that the GDC is also a way to encourage better collaboration between experts on various medical disciplines in order to fully understand key aspects of malignancies and develop better methods of helping patients.

The vice president pointed out that the current practice of researching about cancer depends too much on "the cult of the individual," which doesn't allow the proper recognition of what he calls team science.

Biden also urged doctors in the country to rethink their strategy of conducting clinical trials to allow them to find eligible participants more easily and for patients to find medical trials that are more suitable for their condition.

Biden's Personal Mission

In January, the Obama administration set aside $1 billion to spearhead efforts in improving cancer research and chose Biden to lead the "moonshot" campaign.

Finding a cure for cancer serves as a personal mission for the vice president, who lost his son to brain cancer last year.

The vice president said that while his son was able to take part in groundbreaking clinical trials, about 96 percent of those who have cancer are not given the same opportunity. He called on doctors to develop better measures that would allow poor patients to take part in such trials.

The vice president mentioned a few of the medical concepts that came about at the ASCO meeting such as the transformative potential of immunotherapy as well as the improvement of doctors' understanding of the genetics of malignancies.

Biden said that cancer research shows better promise today compared with what it had five years ago. However, it would be able to progress at a much faster rate if only researchers chose to work more closely together.

"Imagine if we all worked together ... shared the data behind breakthroughs so that the field as a whole can move forward faster and avoid unnecessary redundancy," the vice president told the attendees.

"The whole world is looking to you, your success can literally change the world. We need you now more than we ever have."

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