Researchers from SciLifeLab and Karolinska Institutet have launched a new Molecular Tumor Board Portal that facilitates the selection of suitable anti-cancers therapies based on genomic data profiles from individual patient’s tumors.
The goal of precision oncology is to deliver the most appropriate treatment based on the specific characteristics of each patient’s tumor. Thanks to recent advancements in sequencing technology, it is now possible to profile the alterations that the genome of tumor cells accumulate during the onset and progression of the disease.
The Molecular Tumor Board Portal is a system recently developed by researchers from SciLifeLab and Karolinska Institutet, that helps medical teams to interpret these data and identify anti-cancer treatments that will be the most effective for each case.
A recent study, published in Nature Cancer, describes the use of the Molecular Tumor Board Portal in a new clinical trial hosted by the Cancer Core Europe, a network of seven leading cancer centers, including Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital. In this Basket of Baskets study, patients with different cancer types, which do not respond to the standard-of-care treatment, receive tailored drugs based on genomic alterations detected in their tumor cells.
The Molecular Tumor Board Portal analyses large volumes of complex genomics data from patients’ tissue biopsies and blood samples, and sets that data in relation to knowledge from large databases, containing data from years of cancer research. The summarized reports provided by the portal are discussed during multi-disciplinary meetings where medical teams from all seven centers examine the information and agree on personalized treatment plans for each patient.
“The field of precision oncology is changing rapidly as we have a better understanding of the biology of the disease, and the use of digital tools are essential to leverage the collective expertise that is continuously generated in the community”, says first author David Tamborero (SciLifeLab/Karolinska Institutet). “The Molecular Tumor Board Portal provides a unique platform to facilitate the communication among clinical investigators and promote precision medicine knowledge across healthcare professionals in an unprecedented effort at the European level.”
The study reports the results from a consecutive cohort of 500 patients screened for the Basket of Baskets trial. The automation of analysis and reporting of this complex data reduces the time needed for clinical decision-making. This is key for patients whose clinical condition can deteriorate fast. In addition, the analysis of the data provided information that was relevant beyond the treatment itself, such as the identification of the risk of inherited cancer in the patient’s family.
“The Molecular Tumor Board Portal is an asset for the clinical setting that is developed in-house via a collaboration among large academic institution with excellent cancer research capabilities”, says corresponding author and SciLifeLab Scientific Director, Janne Lehtiö. “This allows us to accelerate the use of emerging biomarkers in the implementation of cancer precision medicine.
“This is a small example of a digital tool developed to directly benefit patients, offering a glimpse of what the SciLifeLab’s Data Driven Life Science (DDLS) program’s Precision medicine and diagnostic research area is aiming for, namely harnessing molecular data to improve diagnostics and precision medicine”, Janne concludes.