New Lurie Cancer Center Program Combines Oncology  With Genomics to Provide More Personalized Cancer Care

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Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, in collaboration with the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, has launched a new research program, Northwestern Onco-SET (Sequence, Evaluate, Treat). The program’s goal is to provide a more personalized, precision medicine option for cancer patients by combining oncology with genomics. This program will initially focus on patients with any type of cancer that is not responsive to traditional therapies.

Molecularly Defined Targets

“Northwestern Onco-SET will help establish Chicago as a national and international leader in precision medicine for cancer,” said Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD, Director of the Lurie Cancer Center. “This is the first time cancer treatment in Chicago will be offered in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program. Onco-SET will use molecularly defined genomic targets as a basis for determining treatment options, including novel, early-phase clinical trials.”

Onco-SET personalizes cancer care for patients by sequencing the individual genetic profile of their tumors 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 apply them to treating a different kind of cancer if it shares the same genetic abnormalities.

“As part of our work with Onco-SET, we are also planning to initiate a pilot program of site-agnostic, pathway-driven tumor clinics,” added Dr. Platanias.

Wide Spectrum of Specialists

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 comprises a wide spectrum of cancer specialists, including pathologists; medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists; cancer geneticists; genome biologists; molecular scientists; bioethicists; and bioinformaticists.

By offering cancer patients care within Onco-SET, the program is also expanding the Lurie Cancer Center’s preclinical research by collecting and analyzing detailed data from each patient’s tumor genomic profiles. ■