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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has selected LSU Health New Orleans as one of the participating institutions in Project GENIE (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange). Project GENIE is an international, open-source, pan-cancer registry of real-world clinical and genomic oncology data built by
sharing clinical-grade sequencing and medical data gathered during routine medical care among its 22 participating leading international cancer centers. LSU Health New Orleans is the only institution in Louisiana invited to join.
“Because ‘cancer’ consists of hundreds, if not thousands of neoplastic diseases driven by different combinations of genetic mutations and evolving in time, the biological complexity of cancer defies any ‘one size fit all’ approach to therapy,” notes Lucio Miele, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Genetics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. “Oncology is a poster child for genomics-driven precision medicine.”
According to AACR, “precision medicine requires an end-to-end learning health care system, wherein the treatment decisions for patients are informed by the prior experiences of similar patients. Oncology is currently leading the way in precision medicine because the genomic and other molecular characteristics of patients and their tumors are routinely collected at scale. A major challenge to realizing the promise of precision medicine is that no single institution is able to sequence and treat sufficient numbers of patients to improve clinical decision-making independently. To overcome this challenge, the AACR launched Project GENIE.”
Dr. Miele, who also heads the Precision Medicine Program, says LSU Health New Orleans has much to contribute. “Louisiana’s age-adjusted cancer rate is approximately 490 per 100,000 people, among the highest in the US. The state and the region around it suffer from significant disparities in major cancer risk factors such as obesity, smoking
and exposure to environmental contaminants, as well as persistent disparities in cancer outcomes. Louisiana is also home to unique populations such as the Acadians and Creoles, with distinctive genetic risk factors. Yet, our cancer patients remain understudied, and access to precision oncology has been historically limited. Our participation in the GENIE Consortium will expand the diversity of the data available to the oncology community and enable rigorous investigations of the relationship between comorbidities, molecular biomarkers and outcomes for patients in Louisiana and beyond.”
The GENIE data will enable “virtual clinical trials,” comparing response rates in patients with similar molecular profiles matched for demographics and clinical variables but treated with different agents. It will permit pre-screening for genomics-driven clinical trials (potential for multi-site collaborations) and fine-tuning clinical decision-making by comparing response rates. The data will also facilitate reclassifying rare tumors based on molecular profiles and refine their treatment.
“A statewide leader in cancer research and patient care, LSU Health New Orleans is uniquely positioned to provide data that will help accelerate drug discovery, advance clinical trials, and improve outcomes for cancer patients,” says Interim Chancellor Dr. Steve Nelson.
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSU Health New Orleans) educates Louisiana’s health care professionals. The state’s health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state’s only School of Dentistry, Louisiana’s only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous annual economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO, or http://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC.