In recognition of World Cancer Day, five local cancer academic treatment centers and two pediatric hospitals, met today at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to announce a new collaboration committed to streamlining research and precision medicine efforts. The Philadelphia Coalition for a Cure, or PC4C, is a first-in-kind cooperative clinical diagnostics and research initiative focused on assessing and developing leading-edge technologies and diagnostic platforms through shared initiatives to benefit adult and pediatric brain tumor patients.
“I want to welcome Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and the members of PC4C to the Raymond G. Perelman Campus of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” said Madeline Bell, President and CEO. “This has been a place of discovery in many facets of pediatric medicine, and I am hopeful that your efforts in fighting brain cancer will take root and bring beneficial treatments to people around the world.”
PC4C consists of members from the Division of Neurosurgery and Center for Data Driven Discovery at CHOP; Hyundai Cancer Institute at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), and the neurosurgical departments of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University; the Drexel Neurosciences Institute at Drexel University College of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
“Brain tumors are the leading cause of disease-related death in children and more than 20,000 adults are diagnosed each year,” said Jay Storm, MD, Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. “Working with PC4C, we hope to define a new collaborative clinical and research ecosystem that harnesses partnerships among leading academic centers, commercial partners and insurers to identify therapies and accelerate discovery. Together we’re embarking on an incredibly exciting journey toward revolutionizing cancer care.”
PC4C selected NantHealth, Inc., to supply researchers with its comprehensive molecular profiling and diagnostics test, GPS Cancer™, a unique, comprehensive test integrating whole genome (DNA) sequencing, whole transcriptome (RNA) sequencing, and quantitative proteomics to provide oncologists with a comprehensive molecular profile of a patient’s cancer to inform personalized treatment strategies and identify therapies that may have clinical benefit for the patient. As a founding member of Cancer Breakthroughs 2020, NantHealth will work with the PC4C to onboard key stakeholders in the cancer community to fight cancer. PC4C, in its commitment to testing and vetting leading-edge technologies through clinical trials, aligns with the Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 program’s Quantitative Integrative Lifelong Trial (QUILT), which is designed to evaluate novel combinations of immunotherapies and the ultimate goal of durable, long-lasting remission for patients with cancer.
“The current standard of treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with brain tumors remains along the callous path of chemotherapy and/or radiation,” stated Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, Founder and CEO at NantHealth and leader of the Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 initiative. “Our goal in elevating the potential of combination immunotherapy as the new paradigm of cancer care is so that oncologists can offer their patients a less rigid therapy and one that is targeted at the patient’s unique biology to harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer the way it was designed to do. GPS Cancer is an incredibly comprehensive test that provides oncologists with the peace of mind that they are making the most informed decisions before developing a treatment plan. We are excited to see these leading cancer institutions research and identify individualized treatment options for patients with brain tumors, and we expect this alliance to help allow us to establish an improved platform of discovery to inform precise therapeutic decisions for adult and pediatric brain tumor patients.”
Another member of the Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 program, Independence Blue Cross (IBC), will offer insurance holders full coverage of GPS Cancer tests. The tests will also be covered for non-IBC insured brain tumor patients through CHOC. The goal of arming neurosurgeons and oncologists with these tests is to encourage collaboration in research and the integrative analysis of molecularly, genomically and proteomically informed diagnoses in order to improve the care and treatment of brain tumor patients.
“At Independence we strive to bring our members the best options in healthcare,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO. “GPS Cancer arms our oncologists with the most educated data allowing them to offer patients the best treatment strategy available for their individual needs. As we continue to be impressed by the workings of the Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 program, Independence Blue Cross is thrilled to be part of this initiative that is bringing together the Philadelphia oncology community and leading pediatric institutions to advance cancer research and to truly put the patient at the center of care.”
In addition to initiating clinical research studies, PC4C institutions will work together to advance data-driven discovery through the rapid sharing and release of data to the entire research community through open science initiatives. All patient-consented data for the PC4C will be accessible to the research community via Cavatica, a newly launched biomedical data analysis and storage platform, that for the first time, will integrate adult and pediatric brain tumor data. These efforts leverage the recently launched Children’s Brain Tumor Atlas initiative, another large-scale Cancer Breakthrough 2020 data initiative.
“This collaboration between Cancer Breakthrough 2020 and PC4C demonstrates our shared commitment to accelerating discovery through data empowerment to transform care for brain tumor patients across all ages,” said Adam Resnick, PhD, Director of the Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine at CHOP. “PC4C looks forward to further expanding their collaboration network to develop additional clinical trial protocols, carefully studying elements such as standard of care, leading edge technologies like GPS Cancer, patient selection criteria, and appropriate combinations of targeted and immunotherapy approaches.”
Principal investigators of this initiative include: