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Leading Health Systems Create Consortium to Accelerate Cancer Precision Medicine Development

June 2, 2016
by Heather Landi
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Intermountain Healthcare, Stanford Cancer Institute and Providence Health and Services creation of the Oncology Precision Network (OPN), a data sharing network that aggregates clinical, genomics, treatment and outcomes data to advance cancer care.

Syapse, a precision medicine software vendor, also is a founding member of the OPN consortium. The three founding health systems, and Syapse, formed the OPN in response to Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The OPN consortium will share aggregated clinical, molecular, and treatment data through an advanced software platform, rapidly bringing the most promising treatment insights to cancer patients and physicians, according to a joint press release. The collaboration will also increase access to clinical trials.

The collaborating organizations anticipate an immediate 100,000 data sets in the OPN database. When fully implemented, the OPN will impact 50,000 new cancer patients per year, representing three percent of the nation’s total; 200,000 total cancer patients per year; and have more than 1.5 million historical cancer cases, according to the press release.

The OPN consortium comprises data and physicians across 11 states, 79 hospitals and 800 clinics. The consortium aims to include other health systems later in the year, with the long-term goal of impacting cancer care across the United States.

“This consortium exists because we all arrived at the same important conclusion: we need to collaborate across health systems to cure cancer,” Lincoln Nadauld, M.D., 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 collaborating organizations believe the OPN consortium will open access to precision medicine and clinical trials for previously underserved cancer patients. The vast majority of cancer patients are not treated by major cancer centers and don’t benefit from high volume based analytics, the organizations stated.

Individually, each of the healthcare organizations have been storing information about patients’ health history, cancer status, labs, molecular and genetic data, and treatments. Collectively, the OPN will use the Syapse technology to link aggregated data between the geographically disparate health systems. This work allows the OPN consortium to increase inter-operability of data sharing, empowering physicians with information that would previously have been unavailable, according to the press release.

Intermountain and Stanford Medicine, through the Stanford Genome Technology Cancer, have already embarked on a new collaborative research program with the aim of providing scientific advances in precision health and medicine, as previously reported by Healthcare Informatics.

According to Thomas Brown, M.D., executive director of the Swedish Cancer Institute and co-chair Providence Health & Services Personalized Medicine Program, 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. “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.”

“This dynamic network will also allow us to approach precision oncology from a ‘big data’ point of view,” said Jim Ford, M.D., associate professor of medicine (oncology) and genetics at Stanford and director of clinical cancer genomics at the Stanford Cancer Institute, said. “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.”

The OPN consortium builds on prior work by each of the parties, including a study of the clinical effectiveness of precision medicine by Intermountain Healthcare and Syapse. This study demonstrated a doubling of progression free survival without increasing the cost of care in stage 4 patients. Additionally, Providence, through Swedish Cancer Institute, developed a sophisticated algorithm to match patients with clinical trials most likely to benefit their “molecular type” of cancer.

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