NEWS | April 20, 2015

Comprehensive genomic tumor profiling comes to UC Davis

Cancer Center enters collaboration with Foundation Medicine

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have entered into a collaboration with Foundation Medicine, a leading molecular information company. The collaboration brings comprehensive genomic profiling into standard of care at UC Davis, allowing physicians to prescribe the most effective, targeted cancer treatments to patients based on the genomic information specific to each individual’s cancer.

UC Davis will leverage Foundation Medicine’s molecular information to drive targeted programs, research initiatives and clinical trials that have the potential to improve patient outcomes. UC Davis will contribute outcomes data generated from these efforts to incorporate into Foundation Medicine’s molecular information knowledgebase, FoundationCORE®, to provide the broader oncology and pathology communities with information to help inform treatment decisions for other patients.

“Foundation Medicine is the commercial leader in comprehensive genomic profiling of cancerous tumors,” said Ralph de Vere White, distinguished professor of urology and director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Combined with our basic, clinical and translational cancer research expertise, we hope to ultimately reduce the burden of advanced cancer in this region.”

Lydia Pleotis Howell, chair of the UC Davis Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, expressed enthusiasm about the collaborative approach with Foundation Medicine, which will go beyond genomic testing of tumors.

“The data-sharing aspect of this relationship will enhance the academic work at UC Davis Health System and can be a model of collaboration between academia and industry,” she said.

Advances in genomics have led to the development of many new therapies designed to target specific gene alterations typically associated with certain tumor types, but may also be found across other tumor types. These discoveries are the basis of a new direction in cancer care in which specific genomic alterations that cause cancer growth are identified in an individual’s tumor, and patients are treated with drugs, or a combination of drugs, designed to target those lesions, sparing the patient treatments unlikely to have a therapeutic benefit.

“Clinical research centers across the country are recognizing the benefits of comprehensive genomic profiling and the difficulty of assembling the technology and systems to do this with the necessary degree of accuracy,” said Dave Daly, chief commercial officer of Foundation Medicine. “We are looking forward to providing this valuable genomic information to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center as they continually seek to optimize patient care.”

Foundation Medicine uses comprehensive genomic profiling to analyze clinical specimens to detect clinically relevant alterations in hundreds of cancer-related genes. The company then combines the genomic data with the latest scientific and medical information, including targeted therapeutic agents and open clinical trials. The final clinical report allows physicians to match each patient to potential treatment options based on the genomic profile of the patient’s unique cancer. An estimated 85 percent of samples sent to Foundation Medicine have at least one clinically relevant genomic alteration. Foundation Medicine also offers assistance to patients with cancer and their families seeking access to prescribed targeted therapies through a program called FoundationOne CareLine, as well as a financial assistance program, FoundationACCESS, to address certain financial, access and claim issues.

UC Davis intends to collaborate with Foundation Medicine to develop a genomic tumor board, in which individual patient cases are discussed and oncologists at the Cancer Center determine the best therapeutic options based on genomic profiles.  In addition, the two leaders are also discussing grand rounds lectures, medical school courses on the role of molecular-targeted treatments in cancer care, as well as other continued medical educational opportunities. In addition, because insurance coverage for certain targeted therapies can require an exhaustive authorization process,  de Vere White will work with the company and insurance payers – including Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program – to develop an agreed-upon protocol that would streamline clinical trial enrollment and enable coverage of patients for testing and treatment with FDA-approved therapies and molecularly-driven drug trials.

For more information about the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.