The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, in collaboration with the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute (NMDTI) and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, has launched a new research program, Northwestern Onco-SET (Sequence, Evaluate, Treat), to provide a more personalized, precision medicine option for cancer patients by combining oncology with genomics. This program initially will focus on patients with any type of cancer that is not responsive to traditional therapies.
"Northwestern Onco-SET will help establish Chicago as a national and international leader in precision medicine for cancer," said Leonidas Platanias, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Lurie Cancer Center. "This is the first time cancer treatment in Chicago will be offered in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program using molecularly defined genomic targets as a basis for determining treatment options including novel early-phase clinical trials."
Onco-SET personalizes cancer care for each patient by sequencing the individual genetic profile of their tumors—known as genomic profiling—and evaluating the results to provide the treatments or clinical trials that will benefit them most. Some of these approaches include site-agnostic, pathway-driven treatments, which use therapies developed to target the specific genetic abnormalities of one type of cancer and applies them to treating a different kind of cancer if it shares the same genetic abnormalities.
"As part of our work with Onco-SET, we also are planning to initiate a pilot program of site-agnostic, pathway-driven tumor clinics," said Platanias.
To evaluate and discuss the best treatment options for each patient, Onco-SET created the Lurie Cancer Center's Molecular Tumor Board, which brings together a group of experts to review every tumor's genomic profile. The board is comprised of a wide spectrum of cancer specialists, including pathologists, medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, as well as cancer geneticists, genome biologists, molecular scientists, bio-ethicists and bioinformaticists. Treatment options made available to the Molecular Tumor Board through Onco-SET include novel therapies from a variety of early-stage clinical trials.
"Onco-SET will provide the environment and infrastructure in which we can deliver personalized cancer treatment for patients who currently have very limited options, while accelerating our other research focused on developing novel individually tailored agents," said Francis Giles, M.D., deputy director of the Lurie Cancer Center, co-chair of the Molecular Tumor Board and director of NMDTI. "We will be able to learn more about which genomic targets are most important to effectively treat cancer and identify potential targets for which no drugs may currently exist."
By offering cancer patients care within Onco-SET, the program also is expanding the Lurie Cancer Center's preclinical research by collecting and analyzing detailed data from each patient's tumor genomic profiles. The information collected will allow Northwestern Medicine researchers to identify new treatment patterns and important genomic pathways to help develop novel approaches to cancer treatment.