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New Lurie Cancer Center Program Combines Oncology with Genomics to Provide More Personalized Cancer Care

Clinical Research program offers Chicago path to cutting-edge precision medicine using genomic tumor profiling

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, in collaboration with Northwestern Medicine, has launched a new research program, Northwestern OncoSET (Sequence, Evaluate, Treat), to provide a more personalized, precision medicine option for cancer patients by combining oncology with genomics. This program will initially focus on patients with any type of cancer that is not responsive to traditional therapies.

"Northwestern OncoSET will help establish Chicago as a national and international leader in precision medicine for cancer," said Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD, director of the Lurie Cancer Center. "This is the first time cancer treatment in Chicago will be offered in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program using molecularly defined genomic targets as a basis for determining treatment options including novel early-phase clinical trials."

OncoSET personalizes cancer care for each patient by sequencing the individual genetic profile of their tumors – known as genomic profiling – and evaluating the results to provide the treatments or clinical trials that will benefit them most. Some of these approaches include site-agnostic, pathway-driven treatments, which use therapies developed to target the specific genetic abnormalities of one type of cancer and applies them to treating a different kind of cancer if it shares the same genetic abnormalities.

"As part of our work with OncoSET, we are also planning to initiate a pilot program of site-agnostic, pathway-driven tumor clinics," added Platanias.

To evaluate and discuss the best treatment options for each patient, OncoSET created the Lurie Cancer Center's Molecular Tumor Board, which brings together a group of experts to review every tumor's genomic profile. The board is comprised of a wide spectrum of cancer specialists, including pathologists, medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, as well as cancer geneticists, genome biologists, molecular scientists, bio-ethicists and bioinformaticists. Treatment options made available to the Molecular Tumor Board through OncoSET include novel therapies from a variety of early-stage clinical trials.

"OncoSET is an unprecedented initiative to deliver personalized, effective cancer treatments to patients who currently have very limited options. Advanced molecular testing to evaluate a tumor's genetic profile will increase our understanding of the disease, and our ability to offer individually tailored therapeutic agents," said Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, Associate Director for Translational Research and Precision Medicine at the Lurie Cancer Center, and Director of the OncoSET program. "In addition to an innovative, patient-centered approach to cancer care, patient engagement and education will be an integral part of OncoSET's focus." 

By offering cancer patients care within OncoSET, the program is also expanding the Lurie Cancer Center's pre-clinical research by collecting and analyzing detailed genomic data to identify patterns and signature pathway activity. "We will also monitor and evaluate the impact of our combined diagnostic and targeted therapeutic approaches to define a new, cost-effective standard of cancer care,"  said Cristofanilli.

To learn more about OncoSET call 800.826.6384.  To learn more about the Lurie Cancer Center or to schedule an appointment, visit or call 312.695.0990.

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