Palo Alto, Calif – January 18, 2011 – Experts and advocates from throughout the medical community attending today’s Personalized Medicine World Conference will learn about the launch of Targeted Therapy Finder (therapy.collabrx.com). This innovative application provides Melanoma patients and their physicians with information, based on the best, most up-to-date, cancer science so they can make good treatment decisions and achieve the best possible outcomes. The application obtains its information from cancercommons.org, an open science initiative started by Collabrx. The application aims to provide each patient with the best possible outcome by personalizing therapy based on the tumor’s genomic subtype; learning as much as possible from each patient’s response; and rapidly disseminating what is learned.
The formation of CollabRx (and in turn Cancer Commons) was driven by chairman and chief executive officer, Dr. Jay M. (Marty) Tenenbaum, a successful technology entrepreneur and melanoma survivor, whose personal diagnosis of a highly lethal cancer compelled him to seek innovative new ways for physicians and patients to gain information and access to life-saving treatments. Dr. Tenenbaum’s experience in sorting through the morass of cancer therapeutic options and clinical trials led him to create a new patient-centered, collaborative model of cancer treatment in which every patient can receive personalized therapy based upon the best available science, and where researchers continuously test and refine their models of cancer biology and therapeutics based on the resulting clinical responses.
“A decade ago when I was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, the technology and knowledge I needed to understand what treatment option was right for me wasn’t available at any price,” said Dr. Tenenbaum. “Like many other patients, I had to make life and death decisions based on trial and error, medical guesswork or even zip code – what was available locally. Thanks to the genomics revolution and advances in related technologies like computational and systems biology, we now have the means to answer such questions, and more importantly, to predict which treatments are likely to work best for an individual cancer patient.”
CollabRx is creating simple and intuitive Web-based applications that deliver the latest scientific information in a personalized and actionable form to individual patients and physicians. The Targeted Therapy Finder (http://therapy.collabrx.com) is the first major application to exploit the open scientific knowledge in Cancer Commons. The application enables physicians and patients to find treatments and clinical tests geared towards the specific genomic profile of a patient’s tumor.
Collaborating with Clinical Oncology Experts
CollabRx and Cancer Commons have built a network of collaborators from among the most influential and respected cancer research organizations, academic institutions, government agencies and clinicians. Cancer Commons’ scientific advisors and collaborators include:
• George Lundberg, MD, former Editor in Chief, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Medscape and eMedicine from WebMD; Editor in Chief, Cancer Commons.
• Donald Kennedy, PhD, Bing Professor of Environmental Science and President emeritus at Stanford University; former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration and editor of Science.
• Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, David A. Wood Distinguished Professorship of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research, University of California, San Francisco; Director, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; President Designate, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
• Douglas Blayney, PhD, Medical Director, Cancer Center at Stanford University Medical Center, and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University; immediate Past President of the American Association of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
• David E. Fisher MD PhD, Chief, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School; Immediate Past President, Society for Melanoma Research (SMR); co-chief editor of Cancer Commons Melanoma.
• Keith Flaherty, MD, Director of Developmental Therapeutics, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School Cancer Center; co-chief editor of Cancer Commons Melanoma.
“Cancer patients will receive the most benefit from treatments that best match their individual disease,” said Dr. McCormick. “Matching specific treatments to specific patients requires a precise and thorough description of the disease at the molecular level, and a deep understanding of the latest clinical experience with each specific treatment. We need a dynamic, interactive community to make this possible, and Cancer Commons can provide that community. Through Cancer Commons, every patient’s experience helps optimize treatments, rather than existing as an isolated point of data.”
"Cancer Commons puts the patient at the front end of a remarkable experiment in ‘translational medicine’ - one in which basic molecular biology, computational methods and a network of experts and institutions collaborate to work out personalized medical solutions," said Dr. Kennedy, who also chairs CollabRx’s Scientific Advisory Board.
New Cancer Science
The Cancer Commons community plans to develop a new set of models focusing on common cancers, in addition to Melanoma. These include:
• Sarcoma: with Chief Editor George D. Demetri, MD, Director, Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology; Senior Vice President for Experimental Therapeutics, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.
• Lung: with Chief Editor Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Dermatology, Director, Chest Oncology and Thoracic Oncology Research Program, University of Chicago Medical Center.
The Cancer Commons community will leverage the economies of scale and opportunities for cross-learning that come from rethinking cancer as a molecular rather than organ-based disease.
Partnering with the Oncology Community
CollabRx is partnering with major pharmaceutical, life sciences and molecular diagnostics and healthcare information technology industry leaders to expand the reach and information-sharing within the global oncology community.
In recent months, CollabRx’s partnering activities have gained momentum, resulting in the establishment of several strategic alliances that are strengthening adoption of the open science models. Two notable examples include:
• Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR, www.acor.org): ACOR is a non-profit organization that, via its unique collection of online communities, has been facilitating patient knowledge and empowerment for nearly 15 years, helping nearly one million patients navigate their cancer experience in the process. ACOR is already geared to embrace the vision, having previously played a major role in promoting awareness of targeting genetic mutations in treating certain types of sarcoma tumors.
• Melanoma Molecular Map Project (MMMP, www.mmmp.org): a multi-national initiative that is creating a family of open access, Web-based databases on melanoma biology and therapy.
Urgent Need for a New, Personalized Cancer Treatment Paradigm
Just as Dr. Tenenbaum was driven by the urgent need to break down medical barriers to find the treatment modality that represented his best chance for survival, the open science model is being adopted amid growing concerns that the current paradigm, rooted in randomized clinical trials, is inefficient.
“With hundreds of new targeted therapies and diagnostics in development, and the likelihood that combination therapies will be required in most cases, there simply is not enough time, money, patients or specimens to sustain the testing of monotherapies on large groups of patients who likely have different sub-diseases,” Dr. Tenenbaum said. “We need a smarter approach--one that exploits genomics to generate more information from every patient, particularly information about which drugs are likely to work best in specific patients. Such an approach enables drugs to be tested with fewer patients, allowing us to leverage what we learn at the molecular level across many cancers and rapidly develop new off-label uses for approved targeted therapies. Most importantly, it provides each patient with the optimal treatment.”
About Cancer Commons
Cancer Commons is an open science rapid learning community where physicians, scientists and patients collaborate on individualizing treatments. Its goals are to give each patient the best possible outcome by personalizing therapy based on their tumor’s genomic subtype; learn as much as possible from each patient’s response; and rapidly disseminate what is learned. Cancer Commons provides patients with personalized, actionable information that can save lives, while providing the life sciences industry with a game changing infrastructure that could slash the time and cost of developing new drugs and diagnostics and getting them to patients. For more information, please visit: cancercommons.org
The mission of CollabRx is to save lives by using information technology (IT) to personalize cancer treatments and accelerate research. Its mission is to foster and utilize open-science cancer communities in which physicians, patients, and scientists collaborate to more fully realize the vision and promise of individualized cancer therapy. Patients and physicians use CollabRx tools and services to easily access the latest medical and scientific knowledge in order to learn about tests and therapies, and just as importantly, how to utilize them. For more information, please visit: collabrx.com. The Targeted Therapy Finder – Melanoma is available at therapy.collabrx.com.
Torch Communications, LLC
Cell: (508) 345-9875