By Stephanie Murg, Managing Director, G2 Intelligence
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (New Brunswick, N.J.) is taking a personalized approach to clinical trials. The National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center is partnering with the Meridian Health system to offer patients with rare forms of cancer or with cancer that no longer responds to standard treatment access to a study that will use genomic sequencing to tailor treatment. The clinical trial is part of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s “precision medicine” initiative.
The study will use directed sequencing of a set of known cancer genes to identify alterations in patient samples: blood from venipuncture as well as tumor tissue from a previous biopsy or surgery. Findings will then be discussed at a weekly meeting of the Cancer Institute’s Precision Medicine Tumor Board, which includes clinicians as well as basic scientists, systems biologists, and those with computational expertise. The multi-disciplinary team can decide quickly if the sequencing results suggest new therapy options.
“The goal is to pinpoint what drives the growth of the cancer cells, identify these changes and patterns, and explore therapies that specifically target these abnormalities to attack the cancer,” says Shridar Ganesan, M.D., Ph.D., lead investigator of the trial and associate director for translational science at the Cancer Institute, in a news release. “This technology, coupled with the expertise of our investigators, enables us to move beyond a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to treatment options for our patients.”