Medical Centers from around the country – including Stanford Cancer Institute, Intermountain Healthcare, Providence Health & Services and Syapse – have founded a consortium aimed at using data sharing to improve patient access to cancer clinical trials. Using a software platform, the Oncology Precision Network (OPN) will share genomic data collected from cancer patients.
The consortium is a culmination of various hospitals’ individual efforts to improve precision medicine treatment options for cancer patients. The Swedish Cancer Institute, in collaboration with Providence Health & Services, previously developed an algorithm capable of matching patients with specific molecular types of cancer with clinical trials that may offer them the most clinical benefit.
Cancer patients treated at smaller hospitals as opposed to the large, high-volume cancer centers, may be excluded from participation in clinical trials. According to the OPN, their efforts will improve the accessibility of personalized treatments and clinical trials to those patients who have historically been underserved.
“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.”
The data included in the consortium has been collected from 79 hospitals and 800 clinics across 11 US states. The initiative will start with around 100,000 sets of data in its database, with plans to increase the number of healthcare sites involved in the program later this year.
The datasets included will contain patient information including health history, cancer status, molecular and genetic data, treatments, diagnostic results and patient outcomes. Using Syapse’s technology, the data will be shared among the members of the health network.
“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.”