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Georgetown Medical Center collaborates to develop cancer research database

Washington, DCThe field of personalized cancer research and treatment grows with each day. And a new collaboration with Washington's largest biomedical research organization and an international research and biobanking company is contributing to that growth.

Georgetown University Medical Center announced today an agreement with Indivumed GmbH, based in Hamburg, Germany, which provides the foundation for the analysis of complex clinical molecular signatures from cancer patients, enabling researchers and physicians to better diagnose and tailor cancer treatments for individual patients. This arrangement builds upon a one-year agreement currently in place at Georgetown that established a high-quality tumor biobank and clinical database for pancreatic cancer and which now also includes cancer of the breast and colon.

The expanded collaboration will grow to include a clinical database of prostate, glioblastoma and renal cancer. Together, the institutions will work to establish a robust portfolio of research collaborations, supported by a state-of-the-art biobanking infrastructure and protocol, using Indivumed's established scientific approach, and a multidimensional, integrated clinical and molecular database of cancer.

"Integrating scientific, medical, and technological expertise and assets will transform our ability to analyze complex clinical data relating to specific diseases, employing a more comprehensive, system-level approach to how we treat patients," says Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at GUMC. "We're starting with cancer, and hope this kind of research will lead to better, more individually targeted treatments."

The agreement will expand upon the Indivumed Biobank protocol already begun at Georgetown University Hospital, expanding the collection, storage, analysis and utilization of biospecimens. This includes prospective and standardized collection of pre-, intra- and post-surgical patient data and biospecimen data by specially trained research associates, extracting clinical data from existing clinical systems, developing an enhanced collaborative relationship with the MedStar Health system, which owns and operates Georgetown University Hospital through a clinical partnership agreement with the university, and eventually developing partnerships with national health systems to establish a network of biobanking partnerships for specimen collection.

"Indivumed's approach to standardized and high-quality biobanking and data management as a foundation for individualized medical treatment aligns well with GUMC's approach to a database of cancer," says Hartmut Juhl, MD, CEO of Indivumed and former GUMC faculty member.

The collaboration is a key step in the future development of the Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC) at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown. The G-DOC will be designed to marry clinical information from patients in clinical trials with molecular characteristics of their cancer. This effort will define the molecular features that underlie prognosis and responsiveness to therapy in patients, providing a basis for personalized medicine and a tool for target discovery and drug development.

"Georgetownand its Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centeris committed to reducing the burden of human cancer through the discovery and early adoption of cutting-edge systems biology-based tools," says Louis M. Weiner, MD, director, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the country and the only one in the Washington area. "Collaborating with a company with an established, successful research strategy such as Indivumed brings together the strengths of both institutions in order to achieve this goal."


Contact: Laura Cavender
Georgetown University Medical Center

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