In a collaboration that will encompass a broad range of activities to advance cancer research and patient care and accelerate personalized genomic medicine, The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have established a new academic, research and service relationship, the institutions’ presidents have announced.
A recently signed agreement calls for JAX and the BIDMC Cancer Center to establish a comprehensive relationship in the areas of research and medical education as well as in the creation of new diagnostic and therapeutic services that could greatly improve patient care. This will include the co-development of services based on pioneering mouse model systems for which both institutions are known.
“The Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center is already renowned for its leading-edge cancer care and for our research discoveries that have led to unique cancer treatment strategies,” said Kevin Tabb, MD, BIDMC’s President and CEO. “Our new affiliation with JAX will enhance our ability to improve our patients’ lives by accelerating the application of genomics to cancer care.”
Said JAX President and CEO Edison Liu, MD, “As an independent biomedical research institute with a focus on genetics and genomics, JAX is in a unique position to partner with healthcare systems that can connect genetic and genomic research to the clinical setting. This affiliation will enable both organizations to accelerate the pace at which research progress can be translated into new treatments and cures.”
The affiliation brings together two of the world’s most sophisticated mouse model platforms used in genomic cancer research.
The pioneering JAX mouse model, PDX (patient-derived xenograft) provides a platform for studying the genomic profiles of individual cancers through molecular diagnostic testing. BIDMC’s “Mouse Hospital,” developed by BIDMC Cancer Center Director Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD, uses genetically altered mice to replicate human cancers and enables investigators to conduct human clinical trials in parallel with animal studies.
“The alliance between our Cancer Center and JAX promises to greatly enhance our understanding of the role of new cancer mutations and speed the development of targeted human therapies,” said Pandolfi. “Our two institutions have developed highly complementary mouse modeling platforms that are providing us with tremendous insights into cancer’s mechanisms. By joining forces, we will be able to speed the pace of future discoveries and bring personalized cancer treatments to patients much more quickly.”
JAX and BIDMC will work together to develop the next generation of mouse models, genomic platforms and related research technologies. “Someday, individual patients will have their own cancer ‘avatars’ - mouse models that host their tumor tissue or tumors with a similar genetic background and serve as a stand-in for testing precision therapies for cancer,” said Pandolfi.
The agreement calls for the creation of new genomics-based training programs.
“A critical component of this affiliation is to develop programs that will disseminate knowledge about innovative diagnostics beyond academic medical centers to community-based physicians,” adds Jeffrey Saffitz, MD, PhD, Chief of Pathology at BIDMC. “It is ultimately through this mechanism that the benefits of genomic medicine will reach the vast majority of cancer patients.”
Additional collaborative activities expected to take place under the agreement include:
• Joint faculty appointments
• Clinical genomics applications, including a diagnostics platform to analyze patient samples and help guide personalized therapies
• Development of diagnostic reports to help treating physicians use genomic data in patient care, and to access appropriate clinical trials
• Development of mouse-based approaches to prospectively identify optimal individualized anti-cancer drug regimens