Centers in Massachusetts Collaborate in Joint Center for Cancer Precision Medicine 


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The Joint Center for Cancer Precision Medicine, a collaborative initiative among Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has been established to create “precision medicine treatment pathways” for patients with advanced cancers and to speed the development of personalized therapies.

The Joint Center brings together expertise and resources in state-of-the-art capabilities including DNA sequencing and other tumor molecular profiling technologies, pathology, radiology, surgery, computational interpretation, and new tumor model systems; and reinforces the joint commitment to pursue advances in cancer genetics to improve patient care. It will be headquartered at Dana-Farber.

Big Questions to Answer

“This center will allow us to be optimally positioned to answer the big questions in cancer genetics, especially as they affect clinical decision-making,” sadi Levi Garraway, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Dana-Farber and Director of the new Center. 

“Our mission is to accelerate the development of personalized therapies that achieve long-term disease control and, eventually, the cure of many patients with advanced cancer,” Dr. Garraway said. 

“The Center is creating a new capability to use these huge resources in sequencing and pathology and making sure the data gets to caregivers to help customize treatment,” said Edward Benz, Jr, MD, President of Dana-Farber.

From Bench to Bedside

“This exciting collaboration will allow the life-giving breakthrough of advanced genetic analysis of cancer to be translated into clinical care,” said Betsy Nabel, MD, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Patients will benefit from having the latest genetic discoveries applied to an individual treatment plan that will make a difference in their care,” she added.

“This is an extraordinary moment in biomedicine,” said Eric Lander, PhD, President and Director of the Broad Institute. “By learning from genomic information obtained in the course of clinical care of patients, this remarkable new center will be poised to make critical discoveries, and to ensure that those discoveries get translated back to the clinic.”

Because genome sequencing produces a massive amount of data, the new center will create a computational biology group working in spaces at ­Dana-Farber, the Broad, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. These institutions will also support a translational innovation laboratory for a variety of studies on “actionable” cancer mutations, drug resistance, and preclinical studies of targeted drug combinations.

“Ultimately, all of this is for patients,” Dr. Garraway said. “We need to figure out how to leverage this very exciting time to forge what may be a new way of practicing cancer medicine.” ■



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