News Feature | June 21, 2016

Partnership Supports Cancer Moonshot Initiative To Speed Development Of Precision Medicines

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Futura Mobility Handshake With Doctor

Consortium allows sharing of aggregated data to speed cancer treatment development.

Precision medicine software company Syapse , Stanford Cancer Institute, Intermountain Healthcare, and Providence Health & Services have announced a collaboration designed to support Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative which aims to accelerate the development of cancer precision medicines. The new consortium, called Oncology Precision Network (OPN), was created to allow collaborating organizations to share aggregated clinical, molecular, and treatment data from 11 states, 79 hospitals, and 800 clinics via Syapse’s software platform to inform insights for cancer patients and physicians.

During his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Obama called on Biden to lead the initiative to make more therapies available to more patients while also working to better prevent and detect cancer at an early stage.

“This consortium exists because we all arrived at the same important conclusion: we need to collaborate across health systems to cure cancer,” said Dr. Lincoln Nadauld, executive director of Intermountain Precision Genomics. “Through collaboration, we emphasize the need to learn together to empower physicians and patients in finding solutions to cancer without increasing costs.”

“The highest quality cancer care is predicated on clinical trial participation and currently very few cancer patients can access trials that are matched based on the genetic make-up of their cancer,” said Dr. Thomas Brown, executive director of the Swedish Cancer Institute and co-chair Providence Health & Services Personalized Medicine Program. “This partnership will further our efforts to provide customized therapies that are based on the biological features of both the patient and their unique cancer.”

When fully implemented, the organizations — which want the consortium to include other health systems — predict OPN will impact 50,000 cancer patients annually and will have more than 1.5 million historical cancer cases. It is expected to launch with 100,000 datasets.

“This dynamic network will also allow us to approach precision oncology from a ‘big data’ point of view,” said Dr. Jim Ford, associate professor of Medicine (Oncology) and Genetics at Stanford and director of Clinical Cancer Genomics at the Stanford Cancer Institute. “By aggregating all of our real patient experiences, we will rapidly expand our ability to learn how to choose the best targeted treatments for our cancer patients based on the molecular profile of their tumor and our informatics based research.”