January 28, 2016 | by Letisia Marquez
As part of President Barack Obama’s “moonshot” initiative to cure cancer, members of the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) met Thursday with senior officials from the president and Vice President Joe Biden’s staff to discuss advancements in cancer research. Steven T. Rosen, M.D., provost and chief scientific officer at City of Hope, represented the institution at the White House meeting.
ORIEN members shared how the organization, which is the world’s largest precision medicine collaboration to address cancer, can serve as a model for nationwide collaboration in cancer research.
Here, Rosen answers key questions about the meeting:
1) Why was ORIEN invited to the White House meeting?
Vice President Biden has mentioned that he wants to end the silos, and “bring all the cancer fighters to work together, share information and end cancer as we know it.” In fact, ORIEN is already doing this. The ORIEN model and everything we have learned to date can be tremendously helpful to the vice president’s efforts. ORIEN’s national network enables researchers and clinicians to share data to accelerate the development of precision medicine, which compares each individual’s genetic code with the genome of that person’s tumor. This meeting was a fantastic opportunity to share the progress ORIEN has made collectively, and also highlight the top-notch research and treatment that is happening at our own institutions.
2) What are ORIEN and City of Hope doing to break down those silos?
There are 11 cancers centers that are ORIEN members, and more than 130,000 cancer patients each year have the opportunity to donate their tissue and clinical data to the network. This can potentially help patients be matched with best ongoing clinical trials for their specific type of cancer. At City of Hope, although many of our doctors are working on precision medicine research and treatment, we also have a unit devoted to the effort that brings together clinical trials, new patient services and research informatics. Since joining ORIEN in 2015, City of Hope also has expanded its access to clinical trials at all National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers.
3) How is City of Hope serving the nation?
City of Hope serves more than 20 million people in four counties in Southern California, and that’s nearly 50 percent of the state’s population. At the meeting, I emphasized the diverse populations we serve. I also talked about some of the strides City of Hope has made in cancer research, including the development of technology to humanize monoclonal antibodies and the creation of a pipeline that led to more than 30 drugs, and biological and cell therapies. City of Hope has performed more than 12,000 stem cell transplants, and we’ve placed 30,000 patients in clinical trials between January 2011 and December 2015.
4) Is there anything else you would like to add about today’s meeting?
We also covered precision medicine, which incorporates knowledge about a person’s genetic profile, environment and lifestyle, and the great potential that type of treatment holds. At City of Hope, we’ve made a commitment to share data, collaborate and to ultimately use precision medicine for all cancers. With more funding and attention to these types of treatments, which we hope comes as a result of the president’s and vice president’s efforts, precision medicine will reach new heights at City of Hope and throughout the nation.
If you are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.