Avera Health, a regional health system that serves 300 locations across the Upper Midwest, and Sema4, a patient-centered health intelligence company, have launched a joint precision medicine initiative. The initiative initially will focus on advancing oncology care, enabling Avera Health’s providers and patients to benefit from data-driven insights that inform targeted cancer treatments.

Avera Cancer Institute has had a precision oncology program for several years in which the patient’s tumor is genetically sequenced to guide individualized cancer treatment. The new collaboration will take that a step further by leveraging Centrellis, Sema4’s health intelligence platform, to curate, structure and integrate clinical and genomic data to support both cancer research and clinical care at Avera Health.

Sema4 will deliver predictive disease network models and clinically actionable insights, empowering Avera Health’s providers to further improve the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Sema4 also will offer digital tools that give Avera Health’s providers the ability to readily search for cohorts of patients based on clinical criteria, view a patient’s treatment history contained in the curated data as an interactive timeline, and more systematically match patients to clinical trials.

“Avera Health has a longstanding commitment to genomics and personalized medicine, and a forward- thinking approach to understand the critical role it plays in generating better health outcomes,” said Dr. John Lee, chief medical officer for cancer research at Avera Cancer Institute. “Our collaboration with Sema4, and the resulting access to curated and structured real-time oncology data, will allow our providers to leverage cutting-edge tools that will improve the delivery and quality of cancer care.”

Partnership for predicting common cancers

Lightbeam Health Solutions, a vendor of population health management solutions and services, has partnered with Ambry Genetics, a Konica Minolta Precision Medicine company. The partnership provides precision genetic-testing data within the Lightbeam application to help organizations predict increased risk for common cancers and chronic conditions within patient populations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. The two vendors expect this new partnership to reduce this burden with tools for early detection and prevention by allowing providers to quickly identify, assess and engage patients who meet specific risk factors.

The CARE (Comprehensive, Assessment, Risk and Education) Program will integrate into the Lightbeam Platform, providing an additional clinical data stream for clients in order to enhance Lightbeam’s proprietary Ability-to-Impact risk score. Genetic risk information is critical, because it informs personalized patient care to include preventive surgeries, increased cancer screening and, in some cases, targeted therapies.

“Today, only a fraction of individuals with a hereditary predisposition to disease are tested,” said Rob Guigley, chief commercial officer at Ambry Genetics. “Our partnership with Lightbeam intends to bring greater access to the community and empower patients and providers to make informed preventative decisions that can improve healthcare and management.”

Lightbeam Health is in HIMSS21 booth 2060.

Large-scale, FDA-cleared cancer genetic test

Royal Philips, a global health IT company, has announced that New York Langone Health’s department of pathology will integrate Philips Genomics Workspace into its EHR. This will enable what Philips says will be the largest cancer sequencing test in the industry, helping to guide more confident treatment decisions and care pathways for patients who have received a cancer diagnosis.

Cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month under its 510(k) designation for clinical lab use, the NYU Langone Genome PACT (Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets) test detects changes in the DNA code of 607 genes linked by past studies to the development of multiple types of cancer. The number of genes assayed is the largest among academic genomic-sequencing tests of its kind, Philips said.

PACT uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, which can read the sequence of the molecular “letters” making up DNA code within hundreds of genes simultaneously, and covers the most genes of any FDA-cleared NGS test to date. The technology matches the genetics of each patient’s tumor cells with a growing number of approved therapies targeted to address specific sets of cancer-causing DNA changes.

“PACT reaffirms the goal behind its design, which was to provide our patients with the best understanding of the genetic changes driving their cancers,” said PACT designer Dr. Matija Snuderl, who is director of molecular pathology and diagnostics in the department of pathology at NYU Langone Health.

“Knowing the genetics of their tumor can help to determine which therapies will work for a given patient and their eligibility for specific clinical trials,” Snuderl added. “Beyond the genetic changes that are important to the field now, we also wanted PACT to detect the changes anticipated to be important in diagnosis and treatment of cancer over the next five to 10 years.”

Philips is in HIMSS21 booth C200-126.

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