Washington, DC—The 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.
“Georgetown—and its Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center—is 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.”
Indivumed is a privately owned company started by former Georgetown faculty member Hartmut Juhl (Dr. Juhl continues to hold an adjunct faculty appointment at the university but is not compensated by Georgetown). Indivumed also has partnerships with eight clinical cancer centers in Hamburg, Germany, to collect similar specimens. Indivumed also has offices in Kensington, Md.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), home to 60 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.
Indivumed is a privately held biotech company focused on the generation, characterization and analysis of highly standardized biological samples from human cancer for the development of individualized cancer therapies. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, with a subsidiary in Kensington, Maryland, USA, Indivumed has cooperation agreements with all major oncological hospitals in the Hamburg metropolitan area. Indivumed’s clinical infrastructure and tumor biobank of currently more than 9,000 patient-cases serve as resources for both Indivumed’s internal cancer biomarker discovery programs as well as for the use by pharmaceutical and diagnostic partners through a variety of services, such as immunohistochemistry, drug profiling and access to biospecimen preparations linked with comprehensive clinical data. More information is available: http://www.indivumed.com/
About Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 39 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.