Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 46 of 51 March/April 2018 Clinical OMICs 45 from each test and potential personalized therapy options are delivered back to the order- ing oncologist in two to three weeks. In order to ensure physicians have the support to make use of the data returned after testing, MCGI brought on board prac- ticing oncologist Jens Rueter, M.D., as medical director, and Andrey Antov, Ph.D., as pro- gram director. Under their guidance, MCGI has built an infrastructure to provide the education, training, and exper- tise necessary for each doctor to implement genomics-guided cancer care. Antov noted that it took a full year of development work to meet with the all the oncol- ogy practices and health sys- tems in the state to get their buy in for participation. "The first time you bring new tech- nology to places, many want to see if it works and to understand it. We needed to educate a lot of the participants on the subject of clinical genomics and its applications," Antov said. "All of a sudden the doctors are no longer only surgeons or oncologists, they become molecular biologists. They need to dive into the cell and understand how the molecules interact." Central to the support provided to the community of oncologists in the program is a virtual genomic tumor board, which Rueter leads via tele- conference every month. In addition to participating MCGI physicians, the tumor board leverages expertise from leading oncologists and research- ers at national centers—such as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins—who can provide in-depth analysis and recommenda- tions to their Maine colleagues. "The idea is to build a new model of delivering information and having that discussion among the commu- nity," said Rueter. "It is not just an opportunity to learn and to connect, but also to learn how to get in touch with other experts around the coun- try, and how to access clinical trials. It opens up a lot of doors that likely would remain shut, because the doc- tors wouldn't have the information." In addition, Rueter also works with a 16-member steering committee that provides advice from participants on how to continually improve the pro- gram. One member of that commit- tee is Rueter 's former colleague Tony Harb, M.D., head of medical oncol- ogy and hematology at Eastern Maine Medical Center. "Since the initiative started enroll- ing patients, we have been provid- ing feedback about how it should be working from our clinicians' view. That includes things that need to be corrected, or areas we think we should be spending more time on," Harb said. Harb regards JAX as a perfect part- ner for this kind of program, since it is a research organization and much of "We want to use the initiative as a platform for additional research projects and as a precedent that would change current practices and the barriers that exist for ordering genomics tests." —Andrey Antov, Ph.D. Project Director, MCGI (continued on next page) MCGI Medical Director Jens Rueter, M.D., and Program Director Andrey Antov hope the initiative will become self-sustainable beyond its first five years of funding.

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