Strategic Alliances allow MD Anderson investigators to study novel therapeutic approaches and identify the best treatments for patients by sharing drugs, data and technology with pharmaceutical companies in real-time. This collaborative model promotes design, analysis and discovery by leveraging the resources and expertise of both organizations. Strategic Alliances also offer the opportunity to identify patient populations that will respond positively to a particular novel therapy.
MD Anderson’s Translational and Molecular Pathology (TMP) department participates in 20 Strategic Alliances that have fully executed agreements with pharmaceutical companies. Each Strategic Alliance has multiple trials in the pipeline for a total of 48 active protocols. As part of these collaborations, the Department of Translational Molecular Pathology (TMP), chaired by Ignacio Wistuba, M.D., is leading the effort in tissue collection and processing through the MD Anderson Moon Shot APOLLO Platform (Directors: I. Wistuba, and Andrew Futreal, Ph.D., Genomic Medicine) and molecular profiling and immune-monitoring of biospecimens collected in a longitudinal basis from various trials to include pre-, on- and post-treatment molecular characterization. This enables researchers to explore the biology of each disease at a deeper, more comprehensive level.
TMP Translational Research Program's goal for the Strategic Alliances is to evaluate tumor tissue and peripheral blood in order to assess potential predictive biomarkers for immunologic response, biological effects of treatment and other pre-clinical and clinical research interests. Our objective is to provide detailed histological, molecular and genetic biomarker analysis on pre- and post-treatment tissue samples, as well as longitudinal blood samples. Services are provided by multiple department labs and other platforms:
- TMP Pathology and Immunohistochemistry Laboratory
- TMP Immuno-profiling Laboratory (TMP-IL)
- Multiplex Assay Laboratory
- TMP Genomic Testing Development Lab (GTDL)
- Moon Shot Cancer Genomic Laboratory (CGL)
The TMP Department collaborates with the Strategic Alliances allowing for comprehensive immunoprofiling of patients’ biospecimens that will help achieve clinical proof of concept for compounds or agents benefiting patients across the globe.
For pre- and post-tumor tissues, TMP-IL provides immunoprofiling assays including:
For longitudinal tissue specimens, we perform:
- Samples collection, processing and quality assessment
- Immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays
- Multiplex immunofluorescence (mIF)
- Nanostring immune profiling assay
- RNA sequencing
- Whole exome sequencing (WES)
- TCR sequencing
- Single cell sequencing
For longitudinal blood specimens, we perform:
- Flow cytometry
- Whole exome sequencing analysis from peripheral blood mononuclear cells
- Liquid biopsy
- Cell-free DNA
- Platelets mRNA
- Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC)
- Plasma cytokine analyses
- TCR sequencing
- Single cell sequencing
For stool and other samples, we perform:
- Microbiome analysis
Our program provides administrative support for monthly meetings with pharmaceutical partners that includes scientific experts, clinical trials principal investigators and translational teams. These meetings lead to in-depth discussions of biomarker analyses planning, data review, modifications of analyses plans based on reported results and detailed biomarker data reports.
Rare Tumor Profiling Initiative
The Rare Tumor Profiling Initiative is part of MD Anderson’s operational priority to enhance its molecular profiling capabilities and access to data, data analytics and meaningful data integration.
The initiative’s central goal is to provide comprehensive data on 1,500 rare tumor samples by the end of 2020. This includes:
- Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) of tumor and germline
- RNAseq of tumor
- Multiplex immunofluorescence (mIF) of tumor (rare tumor mIF panel of 8 markers)
Additionally, the initiative intends to provide comprehensive profiling of as many as 450 (30%) longitudinal samples. Ultimately, this information will identify diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers to improve cancer treatment for patients with rare tumors that have been largely ignored in other large-scale genomic characterization efforts.
To accomplish this goal, we are combining existing samples from current trials, prospective collections, retrospectively banked tissue (banked under disease-site-specific protocols) and samples from patients who have tissue in the Institutional Tissue Bank collected and stored under the front door consent, with formal committee approval.
The initiative utilizes existing platforms including the APOLLO Moon Shot platform for biospecimen acquisition, tracking and distribution; the TMP-IL platform for immunie profiling; and the Translational Research Accelerator Moon Shot platform which centralizes and provides data. To date, we have prospectively consented 751 patients with 674 tissue and blood collections. Restrospectively, we have 611 patient cases with respective blood and tissue in the pipeline for analyses.
The Rare Tumor Profiling Initiative is co-led by Andrew Futreal, Ph.D., Funda Meric Bernstam, M.D. and Ignacio Wistuba, M.D. Kenna Shaw, Ph.D., the executive director of IPCT, is the director of this initiative responsible for operations with support from IPCT Program Manager Randy Chu, IPCT Research Nurse Manager, Kristin Hargraves, and TMP Scientific Manager, Dr. Celia Garcia-Prieto.