Individualized cancer diagnosis and treatment regimens are the future of oncology care and require harnessing the advances of scientific research. In a milestone moment, Northwell Health and its partner Indivumed GmbH, a Hamburg, Germany-based oncology research company, have successfully consented 1,000 patients, enabling the standardized collection and analysis of cancer biospecimens to be made available for researchers worldwide and to provide a unique basis for the multi-omics database of Indivumed to define novel targets and subsequently therapies.
Northwell Health’s Cancer Institute diagnoses and cares for more than 19,000 new cancer patients annually. During the consented patient’s normal treatment, the Northwell Health Biospecimen Repository (NHBR) research team applies the Indivumed Standard Operating Procedure for collecting excess cancer tissue from various organ sites, including lung, breast, colorectal, and uterine. They send the carefully procured cancer tissue – frozen within 10 minutes to assure biological tissue composition – to Indivumed GmbH’s U.S. headquarters in Frederick, MD. These de-identified patient samples are then made available to scientists to further study at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell Health’s science arm, and others across the globe in an effort to advance cancer research, develop anti-tumor drugs and enhance personalized medicine approaches.
“We strive to provide outstanding patient care, cutting-edge clinical trials and new scientific discoveries to treat cancer,” said Jeff Boyd, PhD, vice president, chief scientific officer and director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at Northwell Health Cancer Institute. “We will continue to expand our ability to collect these critical biospecimens and gain a better understanding between cell biology and the development of targeted, effective cancer therapies,” added Dr. Boyd, who is also the director of the Institute of Cancer Research at the Feinstein Institutes.
“Individualized cancer diagnosis and treatment that is based on specialized, comparable, high-quality clinical data and biospecimens are essential,” said Hartmut Juhl, MD, PhD, Founder and CEO of Indivumed. “This milestone achievement and continued partnership with Northwell Health revives our hope that we make a dramatic difference in precision medicine by deciphering multi-omics data for the benefit of cancer patients.”
Samples have been collected since 2017 at the start of a three-year agreement, and in 2020 Northwell Health and Indivumed GmbH initiated a new five-year partnership to expand the cancer biobanking activities. Northwell Health, the largest health care provider in New York State, serves a diverse regional patient population. This is critical for cancer research, as the collected samples represent a broad spectrum of patient demographics and genetics. The close relationship between Indivumed GmbH and Northwell Health also strengthens Northwell Health’s ability to support its affiliation with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, further bolstering basic and translational cancer research to develop new oncology therapies.
Indivumed is a world leader in tissue collection, preservation, and data analytics based on the largest comprehensive multi-omics database available. With Northwell Health’s help, it will add thousands of biological samples to be used in research and clinical trials for communities worldwide. Indivumed is on track to collect and store an additional 100 samples by year’s end with Northwell Health.