Better data — and more of it — translates to better care
“Cancers are exceptionally adaptive in the face of treatment pressure,” says Andrew Futreal,Ph.D., chair of Genomic Medicine and co-leader of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™.
“We know a tumor after therapy is likely to be different than before, but we haven’t done a good job of tackling this from a research perspective until now.”
To understand how tumors evolve and resist treatment, Futreal is helping lead APOLLO, which stands for Adaptive Patient-Oriented Longitudinal Learning and Optimization.
It’s a systematic approach that relies on taking blood samples and biopsies before, during and after treatment, and conducting deep molecular and immune analysis of those tumor samples to understand what causes them to respond to or resist a given treatment.
In the next two years, APOLLO is scheduled to conduct such analyses in 2,100 patients enrolled in 28 high-priority clinical trials for melanoma, multiple myeloma, glioblastoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, lung, breast, colorectal, pancreas and ovarian cancers, and cancers caused by the human papillomavirus.
Results of these analyses, plus clinical information, will be added to the Translational Research Accelerator (TRA), which is a big data platform that integrates longitudinal clinical and research data — the same sample tracked at different points in time — to support translational research throughout the institution. These enormous amounts of data are housed in data centers like the one pictured here.
Information from approximately 250,000 patients treated at MD Anderson since 2012, along with research data from Moon Shots™ platforms, has been loaded into the secure database. The TRA will provide researchers with an unprecedented capacity to more quickly and efficiently generate science-based inquiries in the pursuit of better cancer treatment.
“APOLLO, with its pipeline of comprehensive data feeding the Translational Research Accelerator, drives our vision of every patient contributing to, and potentially benefiting from, research,” says Futreal.