Recent scientific advancements have mandated a paradigm shift in our approach to drug discovery, and, consequently, in our necessary research infrastructure.
Mapping of the human genome, progressive understanding of biologic cellular pathways, identification of genetic markers and proteomics, and discovered efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents for previously unrelated cancers have brought forth new and exciting targeted therapies.Likely, sophisticated applied basic science researchers will drive the search for the next generation of cancer drugs through access to a broad and diverse array of cancerous and precancerous human tissues.
A tissue bank (the foundation of the ITOR Biorepository Services Platform) is critical for understanding how an individual's genetic inheritance affects the body's response to drugs - an understanding that holds the promise of safer and more effective drug treatments tailored to each individual. This is core to the Vision of the Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) of Greenville Health System (GHS):
To be an international destination center for the development and delivery of innovative, personalized cancer therapies.
From the type of mutation causing cancer to specific gene expression levels, genetic biomarkers are becoming an indispensable tool for developing new treatment models for cancer.
ITOR Biorepository Services Background
The ITOR Biorepository Services tissue bank initiatives are critical to the continued development of an organized research infrastructure that will attract leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies interested in developing the next generation of cancer therapies. The success of the ITOR Biorepository hinges on combining the knowledge and drug development experience of the Clinical Research Unit of the Greenville Health System with the scientific experience and established reputation of biotech industry partners and major research university partners such as the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and Furman University.
Ultimately, by linking the laboratory and clinical settings through innovative research investigations, our University partners along with Greenville Health System and private partners can identify the most novel ways to find and couple these biomarkers to patient drug trials and eventually, the most effective treatments & cures for cancer.
The ITOR Biorepository Services Department - in conjunction with the Greenville Health System's surgical oncologists, pathologists and staff - have developed tissue bank sample processing guidelines for frozen tissue, fresh tissue and peripheral blood and include flash freezing in liquid nitrogen within 15 minutes of harvest to maximize cell viability for basic science research. The department has a dedicated staff, including three research nurses and a data coordinator, which facilitate the logistics of tissue handling and submit outcomes data on participating patients.
The ITOR Biorepository staff has adopted a universal consent for all patients of the Greenville Health System to have the option of donating excess tissue for research, should they desire.
ITOR of GHS has several tissue-based patient initiatives & programs under development and ongoing. At the forefront of cancer care are specific programs which are described below:
Rare Tumor Center:
"We're creating something in Greenville that only exists as pieces elsewhere."
GHS Cancer Institute's Medical Director, W. Larry Gluck, MD.
Patients with rare cancers and limited treament possibilities now will have significantly expanded options. The Rare Tumor Center of Greenville Health System (GHS) is the nation's first center dedicated exclusively to the treatment and research of rare cancers.
For more information: GHS Rare Tumor Center
Greenville Health System is one of the first sites in the country to bring Ion Torrent next-generation gene-sequencing technology into a clinical environment for personalized oncology medicine studies. "This breakthrough will allow us to advance the process of personalized oncology in a way that was not possible before in our community, " said Dr. Larry Gluck, Medical Director of the GHS Cancer Institute.
Selah's PrecisionPath™ service incorporates a range of clinically validated biomarker assays to support stratification and management of patients diagnosed with cancer. This service commenced in April 2013 and is now piloting at Greenville Health System's Institute of Translational Oncology Research (GHS ITOR). Knowledge of tumor biomarkers empowers the design of treatment plans for specific cancer types; treatment options can be tailored according to information the tumor is providing. In addition, Selah works with ITOR's oncologists to closely monitor data from recent high quality publications by the world's top researchers to further inform clinicians of emerging evidence in the field.
For more information: Selah Genomics Precision Path
Foundation One is a fully informative genomic profile that helps physicians make treatment decisions for patients with cancer by identifying the molecular growth drivers of their cancers and helping oncologists match them with relevant targeted therapeutic options.
For more information: Foundation One
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA):
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) is a project of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) for a comprehensive molecular interrogation of cancer.
For more information: The Cancer Genome Atlasdifferent cancer.
ITOR Biorepository Services will streamline this process, but it still takes time - which many patients do not have. However, through purposeful initiatives such as ITOR, the process will ultimately catch-up with the research, and the connectivity makes the ITOR research platform demonstrably more effective and unique.
The Caris Target Now program was originally begun as a pilot program funded by a donor whose wife died of cancer at a young age. Its aim was to show the FDA what can be accomplished with dedicated research attached to clinical care delivery, and to illustrate to insurance companies that cancer is not about the site of origin in the body - it is about what is abnormal in the cell. We now know, for example, that some drugs for breast cancer can also work for colon cancer.
It is time to move forward in the transformation of care. It is time for ITOR.
Total Cancer Care (TCC):
The recent announcement of Moffitt Cancer Center at Ohio State on the forming of ORIEN (Oncology Research Information Exchange) reflects GHS Cancer Institute's participation in Total Cancer Care (TCC) for the betterment of our patients and our community.
For more information: TCC
For more information about the ITOR Biorepository, contact:
Lauren Baber, BSN, RN
Lorie Allen, BSN, RN