Whether it’s a friend, family member – or maybe even you – cancer touches all of us in some way. And while this devastating disease may be common, treatments for each cancer and each person are highly individual.
Now Aurora Cancer Care has another tool to provide more options for people in cancer care through its new Oncology Precision Medicine clinic. This advancement will be particularly helpful to those whose cancer is resistant to more conventional forms of treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation.
What is precision medicine?
“Precision medicine is personalized therapy based on molecular tumor signatures,” said program co-director Michael Thompson, M.D., Ph.D. He is a board-certified hematologist and oncologist, with a doctoral degree in pharmacogenetics. Dr. Thompson will use a new software to leverage molecular profiling technology to help patients explore additional treatment options that take into consideration the genetic characteristics of their tumors.
The new multidisciplinary clinic will be located at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center where oncology precision medicine software, Syapse, will be implemented in the fall of 2017, then at all 19 Aurora Cancer Care facilities throughout eastern Wisconsin by early 2018.
How does it work?
Syapse works together with Aurora’s electronic health records system to provide clinicians the ability to access and compare treatment and outcomes data from other leading cancer centers across the nation through the Oncology Precision Network (OPeN), the nation’s largest precision oncology data sharing network for not-for-profit health systems.
It’s through OPeN that cancer experts are be able to share treatment and outcomes data from more than 100,000 patients while preserving individual patient privacy and security. For example, the molecular genetic makeup of each tumor can be compared with patient outcomes, providing potential insights into how certain treatments may be more effective.
More options, more hope
“Precision medicine is the future of cancer care and a topic of great discussion on both a regional and national level, including at the Cancer Moonshot Summit in 2016,” said James Weese, M.D., F.A.C.S., vice president of Aurora Cancer Care. “To bring the depth and experience of Syapse and OPeN to the nearly 8,000 new cancer patients we treat each year means we’ll be able to offer more treatment options and also make smarter choices on treatments based on analyzing biological markers in tumors to see what’s worked well with similar tumors from across the country.”
Additionally, Syapse will serve as a ‘match-maker’ for some patients to gain access to more clinical trials.
“Syapse allows us the potential to make much more informed decisions by leveraging molecular technologies to see what treatment options have been most effective against certain types of cancers,” said Dr. Thompson. “And through OPeN, we’re able to, in some instances, improve access time to clinical trials, which is critical to helping patients seeking care. While not everyone can benefit using this approach, we hope to offer options to people who still want therapy and may be able to participate in a clinical trial or targeted therapies.”
How can I help?
The Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer are a fun way to support innovative cancer care this summer – one that brings together friends, families and communities to help people with cancer locally. Beginning June 3, they’re right around the corner! You can choose from 10 locations, so find the events closest to you and sign up today at LombardiWalk.org!