After Next-Generation Sequencing: Guiding Patients to the Right Treatment

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In the near future, community oncologists will be tasked with helping patients interpret the results of next-generation sequencing of their tumors. Specifically, we will help patients choose an academic center with a phase I targeted therapy program that is a plausible fit for their disease.

Unfortunately, Web pages such as and institution-specific sites that could provide this sort of information have proven notoriously difficult to maintain in real time. An e-mail or phone call to a specific investigator is often helpful, but if an oncologist is in a city or state with several academic institutions, this approach can prove impractical. And even the most informed investigator at a large institute cannot know the current status of all relevant trials at that facility.

I propose a HIPAA-compliant, secure website where a patient’s clinical and genomic data can be uploaded and viewed by academic oncologists in a specific geographic area for a brief, defined time period. Such a platform would allow for and encourage comments from investigators who might be from the same or different institutions.

In addition to providing the patient and community oncologist with the current status of possible trials in a timely fashion, investigators and clinicians who don’t frequently interact at the tumor boards would be updated as well. A sense of “competition” introduced might be uncomfortable at first, but the potential payoff—increased protocol enrollment—would be worth it. ■

—John Jakob, MD PhD
Summa Cancer Institute
Medina, Ohio

Disclosure: Dr. Jakob reported no potential conflicts of interest.




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