By Michelle Churchman, PhD
Director of Scientific Affairs, M2GEN

Putting the Spotlight on ORIEN Intermember Projects

M2GEN, an oncology-focused health informatics solutions company, strives to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of more personalized cancer therapies, with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes. One of the ways we accomplish this is by facilitating the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN)®, a first-of-its-kind alliance of leading cancer centers from across the United States, uniting coastal research hospitals such The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center The James, Emory Winship Cancer Institute, Moffitt Cancer Center and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center with interior research hubs including Huntsman Cancer Institute, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Iowa and the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center.

One of the primary benefits of joining ORIEN is tapping into a large, more diverse platform of shared, harmonized clinicogenomic data. All participating institutions have implemented the Total Cancer Care® (TCC) protocol, which enables other ORIEN members to gain access to the collective set of patients’ de-identified genomic and clinical data, as well as the potential to re-contact patients via their provider for the purpose of inviting them to participate in additional studies. To date, more than 325,000 patients have chosen to participate in the TCC protocol, making it one of the world’s most comprehensive registries.

Another benefit of joining ORIEN is having the opportunity to collaborate with participating cancer centers on cutting-edge research initiatives. M2GEN fosters a culture of collaboration and encourages ORIEN Intermember Projects through regular meetings of Research Interest Groups, investigator meetings, and an annual Scientific Retreat where ORIEN members are able to exchange ideas and identify opportunities to address unmet needs. Once these relationships have been established, members can work together to advance cancer research and patient care. In fact, members are currently collaborating on more than 50 different initiatives.

ORIEN researchers recently showcased several projects at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting that utilize M2GEN’s rich longitudinal clinicogenomic Avatar data, and feature collaborations with scientists across ORIEN and M2GEN. The summaries below highlight how ORIEN investigators are collaborating with fellow Network members and M2GEN to leverage the expansive clinical and molecular Avatar database, to enable breakthrough scientific research that advances patient care.

M2GEN is committed to breaking down research silos and bringing together leaders in oncology in order to improve outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients around the globe. If you’d like to know more about M2GEN, ORIEN, or any of our other products or services, contact us today.

The Impact of HRD in Patients with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Who Undergo Surgical Resection: An Updated Analysis

Limited data is available regarding which mutations in the homologous recombination repair (HRR) pathway beyond BRCA can be targeted with platinum-based chemotherapy in the perioperative setting in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

In this updated analysis, Dr. Gudbjorg of the Jonsdottir of the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer discusses how they assessed the outcome of patients with homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) in response to platinum vs. non-platinum based perioperative chemotherapy in resected PDAC and have included additional variants linked to HRD.

Utilizing data from 311 pancreatic cancer patients in the ORIEN Avatar database, Dr. Jonsdottir determined that patients with one of 18 genetic mutations in the homologous recombination repair (HRR) pathway, which is involved with repairing DNA, had improved survival if treated with platinum-based chemotherapy compared to those who were not. Read more about this study here.

Predictors of Immunotherapeutic Benefits in Patients with Advanced Malignancies Treated with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors Utilizing “Real-World” Data

Despite significant improvements in treating cancer with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), many patients do not achieve disease control. Using ORIEN Avatar real-world data conducted under the Total Cancer Care protocol, Dr. Ahmad Tarhini, M.D., Ph.D., of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute investigated the predictive biomarkers of ICI benefits in patients with advanced malignancies.

Of 1,214 patients with 27 cancer types in the ORIEN Avatar database treated with ICI therapies, Dr. Tarhini found that there was a significant increase in overall survival if the ICI was given as the first treatment. Furthermore, for patients with melanoma, Dr. Tarhini identified six patterns of gene expression that correlated significantly with improved survival on ICIs. Read more about these research findings here.

Pan-cancer Analysis of Exogenous (Microbial) Sequences in Tumor Transcriptome Data from the ORIEN Consortium and Their Association with Cancer and Tumor Microenvironment

The tumor microbiome holds great potential for its ability to characterize various aspects of cancer biology and as a target for rational manipulation. For many cancer types, little is known about the role of microbes and in what contexts they affect clinical outcomes. Non-human (i.e. exogenous) sequences can be observed in low abundance within high throughput sequencing data of tumors.

Daniel Spakowicz, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University, describes a collaboration among members of ORIEN network to leverage tumor biopsy RNAseq data collected under a shared protocol and generated at a single site to better understand the tumor microbiome, its association with prognostic features of the tumor microenvironment (TME) such as hypoxia, and how it may be used to improve clinical outcomes.

Utilizing RNA-sequencing data, Dr. Spakowicz analyzed the microbiomes of 2,892 tumors collected from patients in the ORIEN Avatar database and 2,720 patient samples in The Cancer Genome Atlas. The tumor microbiome was found to correlate better with the type of cancer than the level of oxygen in the tumor microenvironment, suggesting that the tumor microbiome is dependent on location. Learn more about his findings here.

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M2GEN is committed to breaking down research silos and bringing together leaders in oncology in order to improve outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients around the globe. Contact us today for more information.

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