The Worldwide Innovative Networking in personalized cancer medicine, (the WIN consortium), recently announced that the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson will be one of its six new members – the only member of this prestigious group in the Philadelphia region.
The goal of WIN is to speed the delivery of innovative personalized medicine to the patient by forging collaborations between partners in academia, industry, and patient advocacy.
“Our participation in the WIN consortium means Jefferson cancer patients will have access to worldwide clinical trials on promising and individualized therapies,” says Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, Director of the Jefferson Breast Care Center. “It creates a global oncology, a technologically advanced approach to managing our patients.”
The consortium was formed in 2010 and today is made up of 24 member cancer centers in 16 countries. It includes four major technology partners, three pharmaceutical companies and five non-profit or patient advocacy groups. The goal of the network is to facilitate collaboration between medical centers and industry with the aim of speeding the delivery of personalized medicine to cancer patients.
The WIN collaborators “bring immense capabilities and expertise that will be invaluable in building our shared capacity to impact the lives of cancer patients around the world through advancing personalized cancer medicine,” says John Mendelsohn, M.D., Chairman of the WIN Consortium.
WIN’s first and ongoing clinical trial, WINTHER, is open to all patients with solid tumors. WINTHER looks at DNA aberrations/mutations in the tumor but also investigates the transcriptome by looking at the differential RNA expression levels between tumor and normal tissue of the same patient. To date, many targeted therapies are delivered only to those patients showing a mutation in a specific gene. However, some patients may have a normal-looking gene that is being produced at abnormal levels, which is when looking at RNA can be helpful. Using this approach, researchers will be able to match a greater proportion of patients with experimental therapies.
As a WIN member, Jefferson will have the opportunity to suggest novel trials for the consortium’s consideration.
The collaboration will also allow Jefferson to offer some of its most exciting approaches – such as circulating tumor cell (CTCs) diagnostics, also called liquid biopsy, for tracking the progress of metastatic disease – to the international community.
“We can’t beat cancer alone. It will take partnerships across institutions, across industries, and across the globe to make sure every patient has the best shot at the right therapy,” says Richard Pestell, MD, PhD, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.