OHSU kicks off initiative to personalize clinical trials for cancer

Oregon Health & Science University will run analytics against clinical data to deliver decision support to clinicians.
By Tom Sullivan
03:57 PM
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Oregon Health & Science University. Photo via Cacophony, Wikimedia

Oregon Health & Science University on Thursday announced a new research project to create personalized clinical trials for cancers, including breast, pancreatic and prostate.

With the new initiative, OHSU joins a growing number of academic medical centers and hospitals undertaking precision medicine initiatives focused specifically on cancer, including Swedish Cancer Institute and Intermountain Healthcare in the last month alone.

The Knight Cancer Institutes at OHSU will tap personalized cancer specialist Tempus for molecular sequencing and analytics run against OHSU’s clinical and outcome data to generate decision support that Tempus CEO Eric Lefkofsky called “novel therapeutic options” for treating cancer.

[Also: Precision medicine: Hype today but the promise is even bigger than we think]

"We are developing a highly personalized approach to clinical trials," said Christopher Corless, MD, executive director and chief medical officer, Knight Diagnostic Laboratories at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Whereas OHSU is focusing this precision medicine initiative on clinical trials, Intermountain and Swedish are taking slightly different tacks.

Swedish announced in mid-September plans to work with machine learning tools from GNS Healthcare to advance precision medicine for breast cancer care by deciphering a tumor’s biologic fingerprint.

Intermountain, for its part, aligned with the University of Utah and the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the end of August to integrate electronic health records software with clinical decision support tools to screen for several types of cancer.

These moves by OHSU, Intermountain and Swedish are merely the most recent precision medicine initiatives to focus on cancer.

Bryce Olsen, global strategist for Intel’s Health and Life Sciences unit said at the Healthcare IT News Precision Medicine Summit in Boston during June that personalized care will become more common in the immediate future.

“Patients are going to demand that doctors get a better understanding of underlying drivers of disease and defects in their tumor,” Olsen said. “We’re going to see this for cancer first.”

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com