Baylor Research Institute (BRI) at Dallas, Texas and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Ariz., have inked an agreement that will focus on accelerating early detection and treatments for patients with a broad range of cancers.
Aligning the best science of both institutions will lead to new clinical trials and access to technology to drive the development of new therapies—bridging the gap from bench to bedside across Baylor Scott & White Health's 49 hospitals throughout Texas.
"We will combine TGen's strengths in genomics and proteomics with BRI's strengths in metabolomics and immune-based approaches, initially focusing on genomic—or molecular—and translational research for oncology," said Robert Pryor, M.D., president, chief operating officer and chief medical officer, Baylor Scott & White Health.
Genomics applies recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble and analyze the function and structure of genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism). Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins. Metabolomics is the systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind; and immune-based approaches are those that induce, enhance or suppress an immune response.
BRI and TGen will collaborate in these areas of precision medicine by offering liquid biopsies, performing gene sequencing, conducting one-of-a-kind clinical trials and creating personalized vaccines to enhance patient care throughout the health care system. The hope is to transform medicine by answering critical patient and physician questions about specific treatment options available to the patient as well as the best prevention strategy tailored for each patient.
Operations will be managed from a joint program located at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center on the campus of Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, and the research will take place in clinics and labs throughout the healthcare system, as well as TGen facilities in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Dr. Alan Miller, chief of oncology for Baylor Scott & White Health—North Texas, said the joint effort will concentrate on three significant research areas: women's cancer, including breast and gynecological; abdominal malignancies, including pancreatic, colorectal and liver; and hematological cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Dr. John Carpten, deputy director of basic science and professor and director Integrated Cancer Genomics Division, will lead the TGen efforts.
TGen has identified specific gene defects in numerous disease processes that could lead to immediate targeted therapies for patients. Beyond cancer, the collaboration is expected to expand to other research areas, such as infectious disease, cardiovascular, diabetes, neurology and metabolic disease.