E-Newsletter - December 2015

Alliance, GNS Launch Big Data Initiative to Transform Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Treatment

The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and GNS Healthcare (GNS), a leading precision medicine company that applies causal machine learning technology to match health interventions to individual patients and discover new target intervention pathways, have recently launched a big data initiative to identify patient subpopulations that may respond better to combination treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer. The collaboration leverages Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation (REFS™), the patented GNS machine learning and simulation platform.

REFS will analyze multi-modal genetic, genomic, and clinical datasets associated with a recently completed phase III Alliance-led clinical trial (CALGB 80405) of 1,137 patients that evaluated the efficacy of combination chemotherapies with biological agents. Specifically, the study evaluated Irinotecan/5-FU/Leucovorin or Oxaliplatin/5-FU/Leucovorin with Bevacizumab or Cetuximab (C225) in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.

“The complexity of this initiative – the robust datasets, as well as the level of scientific rigor needed to deliver results in a timely fashion – requires a partner with the most advanced computing and machine learning capabilities,” says Dr. Alan P. Venook, Study Chair for the Alliance, Madden Family Distinguished Professor of Medical Oncology and Translational Research at the University of California-San Francisco, and Shorenstein Associate Director for Program Development at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The GNS machine learning platform has the ability to analyze extraordinarily large and complex datasets and to quickly deliver useful answers on the efficacy of combination treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer.”

The large-scale Alliance datasets include comprehensive clinical information and molecular profiles of patients diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer. The clinical parameters encompass demographics, patient and disease characteristics, and outcomes (e.g., overall survival). The molecular results represent detailed analyses of tumor tissue and blood specimens. All information and specimens were collected from patients who participated in the Alliance study from 2004 through 2014.

The effort hopes to accelerate and advance research on the efficacy and value of combination treatments for colorectal cancer with a goal to deliver a reliable framework to rapidly assess the impact of these treatments on individual patients. It will identify biomarkers of specific patient outcomes and predict the likelihood of those outcomes at an individual patient level. This knowledge will improve the ability to match patients to the treatment regimen that will have the greatest value for them – and to do so sooner.

“GNS is honored to be selected by the Alliance to discover patient response diagnostic markers from this clinical trial data and go beyond ‘one-size-fits-all’ medicine,” says Dr. Iya Khalil, executive vice president and co-founder of GNS Healthcare. “This research embodies the GNS vision to bring precision medicine into mainstream medicine to improve patient outcomes. The goal is to identify patient sub-types that respond favorably to combination treatment regimens, ultimately supporting physicians and their patients with critical information needed to more precisely, quickly, and confidently choose a treatment regimen matched (or better suited?) to the unique biological characteristics of the patient.”


For other articles in the December issue of the Alliance E-News newsletter, see below.