PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cancer Commons, the non-profit, open science initiative linking patients, physicians, and scientists, today announced the expansion of its cancer ecosystem Alliance with the addition of six prominent research centers, service providers, and patient advocacy organizations. The new members are: Knight Diagnostic Laboratories at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU); the Thoracic Oncology Program, University of Chicago Medicine; Science Exchange, an online marketplace for scientific services; and patient advocates the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Imerman Angels, and Melanoma Research Foundation. Marty Tenenbaum, Cancer Commons’ founder and chairman, made the announcement during the plenary keynote at the 2013 Molecular Med Tri-Con in San Francisco this morning.
“Cancer research moves quickly, but the pace at which new findings are disseminated and incorporated into practice doesn’t always keep up”
The cancer ecosystem Alliance is a pre-competitive group of cancer centers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, laboratories, patient advocacy organizations, and others committed to facilitating rapid learning in cancer, the process by which patients are treated in accord with the latest knowledge on targeted- and immunotherapies, and that knowledge is continually updated based on each patient’s response. Because cancer is not a single disease, but rather a large collection of diseases that differ on the molecular level, Cancer Commons arms patients with the information needed to select the most effective therapies for their individual tumor, and lets them contribute data that can help inform the next patient’s decision.
Members of Cancer Commons’ ecosystem Alliance are developing the three components of the core infrastructure required for rapid learning:
- A network that can collect and share molecular and clinical data from every cancer patient. Cancer Commons’ Donate Your Data (DYD) initiative, currently in pilot phase with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and other Alliance members, allows patients to voluntarily contribute data from their treatment experiences to support rapid learning.
- A secure platform that facilitates analysis, discussion, and use of data by patients, physicians, and scientists. The first iteration of this platform is online at www.cancercommons.org, and invites participants to share data and discuss curated consensus models of melanoma, lung, and prostate cancers.
- An e-commerce marketplace that allows patients and their physicians to select and order the diagnostic tests and services that can molecularly subtype and profile tumors. Such tests are critical to the future of individualized cancer treatment, but are not yet sufficiently widespread. Alliance members such as Knight Diagnostic Laboratories and Science Exchange are providing important expertise to establish this marketplace.
These three components work together to facilitate the rapid learning necessary to transform cancer research and treatment. The data network provides an opportunity for patients to share their experiences over time, and integrate lab and clinical data across participating institutions. The platform enables a continually updated knowledge base of cancer molecular subtypes, therapies, and clinical trials. The marketplace will allow Alliance members to leverage each other’s resources – from consented, de-identified patient data and specimens to CLIA-certified molecular diagnostics, pre-clinical drug screening, and patient-derived xenograft facilities – the learnings from which can further inform research and practice.
“This latest expansion brings a group of highly distinguished research centers, patient advocacy organizations, and service providers into the Alliance and its shared mission of transforming the cancer treatment experience,” said Marty Tenenbaum, Cancer Commons’ founder and chairman. “By establishing an infrastructure for rapid learning, the Alliance is facilitating the relationships, data sharing, analysis, and diagnostic access that will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for patients with cancer. We are grateful for our Alliance members’ unique contributions, and excited at the promise of shared progress in our mission.”
“Cancer research moves quickly, but the pace at which new findings are disseminated and incorporated into practice doesn’t always keep up,” said Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD, director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the University of Chicago Medicine and a Cancer Commons advisory board member. “This is particularly challenging with regard to the advanced diagnostics that enable the molecular subtyping necessary for personalized medicine. The ecosystem alliance component of Cancer Commons is particularly compelling in its ability to provide physicians and patients greater access to some of the most cutting edge tools in molecular medicine.”
"Cancer patients and their physicians face numerous challenges. Some of the most significant relate to access to the latest research and tools that can change the course of treatment not just for themselves, but also for their fellow patients," said Bonnie J. Addario, founder and president of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. "With its commitment to rapid learning and its expanded Alliance, Cancer Commons is addressing both challenges directly, and patients stand to benefit greatly from its work."
Cancer Commons will proactively recruit Alliance members and provide a neutral forum for planning and governance, assisting stakeholders in defining guidelines around issues such as the collection and sharing of data and specimens, software and data interoperability standards, patient consents and IRB protocols. Organizations interested in learning more about the Alliance should visit www.cancercommons.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the New Members of the Cancer Ecosystem Alliance
- The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (www.lungcancerfoundation.org, San Carlos, CA) is the patient-founded, patient-focused voice relentlessly working to increase the survival of Lung Cancer worldwide through early detection, awareness and funding for research.
- Imerman Angels (www.imermanangels.org, Chicago, IL) carefully matches and individually pairs a person touched by cancer (a cancer fighter or survivor) with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel).
- The Knight Diagnostic Laboratories (www.knightdxlabs.com, Portland, OR), a division of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, provide advanced laboratory testing services, as well as research and development services for healthcare providers and pharmaceutical clients in the rapidly growing field of personalized medicine.
- The Melanoma Research Foundation (www.melanoma.org, Washington, DC) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma.
- Science Exchange (www.scienceexchange.com, Palo Alto, CA) is a community marketplace for scientists to list, discover, access and pay for scientific services from institutions around the world.
- The Thoracic Oncology Program at the University of Chicago Medicine is committed to caring for patients with thoracic malignancies and developing a strong program in novel therapeutics targeting these diseases.
About Cancer Commons
Cancer Commons is a non-profit, open-science initiative linking cancer patients, physicians and scientists in a rapid learning environment. The aim is to enable patients to be treated in accord with the latest knowledge of targeted drugs and immunotherapies, and to advance that knowledge based on each patient’s response. By tightly integrating research and care around individual patients, Cancer Commons hopes to dramatically reduce delays in getting promising investigational drugs into the clinic. To support this mission, Cancer Commons is assembling a pre-competitive industry alliance of cancer centers, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, laboratories, patient groups, and others. For more information, visit www.cancercommons.org.