Five major Quebec cancer treatment centres are partnering with Montreal-based Exactis Innovation to build a coordinated network to match cancer patients to clinical trials based on the characteristics of their tumour through an innovative digital registry. The "Personalize My Treatment" (PMT) digital registry addresses the challenge of recruiting and matching cancer patients who have had their cancer molecularly profiled to clinical studies in areas of high unmet need.
Under the agreement, the five partner institutions will begin enrolling cancer patients in the PMT program. The participating centres are: Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), the Segal Cancer Centre of the Jewish General Hospital, the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, and the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CRCHUS) intégré au CIUSSS de l'Estrie.
"The Exactis PMT program and its partnership with Quebec's leading cancer treatment centres is an excellent example of the Quebec research community working in partnership for the benefit of Quebec patients," said Dr. Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec and Chair of the Quebec Research Funds. "The program's ability to provide international researchers with prompt access to specific populations of patients greatly enhances Quebec's ability to attract innovative research investment from the biotech and pharmaceutical sector that will benefit Quebec cancer patients."
Patients participating in the PMT initiative consent to having their genetic and molecular information about their cancer tumour, as well as clinical data, stored in the Exactis digital registry and agree to be re-contacted for potential participation in future research projects, including possible clinical studies of new treatments targeted to their specific type of cancer.
"Understanding cancer through its molecular and immune characteristics allows us to target novel medicines to the patient's disease with the goal of improving treatment response. As cancer is more precisely defined, matching patients to clinical trials has become more challenging," said Dr. Gerald Batist, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Exactis Innovation and Director of the Segal Cancer Centre of the Jewish General Hospital. "No single cancer centre, no matter how large, can identify enough patients of a very specific type eligible for studies using precision medicines. The Exactis PMT program allows us to pool patients from a coordinated network of centres and to attract the most innovative research to Canada and Quebec."
Movement towards precision medicine in cancer
Recent research has led to much greater knowledge about the individual molecular characteristics of cancer, leading to the development of precision medicine - tailoring treatment decisions to patients based on the molecular or genetic signature of their disease.
"We are pleased to be a founding partner of the Exactis PMT program to promote patient access to personalized cancer treatments," said Andy Chabot, President and CEO of the Cancer Research Society. "The more cancer research we can attract through initiatives such as this, the more patients will benefit."
"Our partnership with the major cancer centres in Quebec provides us with a critical scale of operations to expand the program to help patients and researchers throughout Canada," said Richard Fajzel, President and CEO of Exactis Innovation. "The development and growth of a network initiative such as PMT is possible only through the commitment and collaboration of multiple founding partners from the public and private sectors over the long-term such as the Cancer Research Society and founding support through the federal Business Led-Networks of Centers of Excellence program."
The Exactis PMT program is a non-profit public-private partnership with funding from the federal and provincial governments, research organizations, biopharmaceutical companies and patient groups.
About Exactis Innovation
Founded in 2014, Exactis Innovation (Exactis) is a pan-Canadian, non-profit organization that improves cancer care for Canadians by addressing the challenge of recruiting and matching cancer patients to clinical studies for targeted therapies that could benefit them. The Exactis solution is a first-of-its-kind patient registry -- Personalize My Treatment (PMT) - where patients are recruited by their cancer care institution and agree to have detailed genetic data about their cancer stored in a digital registry and also agree to be contacted if they are considered suitable for future clinical studies that match their cancer characteristics. Exactis is building its network of PMT cancer centres across Canada to promote research and the better use of technology and resources for the benefit of patients in areas of high unmet need. Exactis is funded through grants from the Networks of Centres of Excellence, various Canadian research organizations and biopharmaceutical companies. Exactis is a partner of the Consortium de recherche en oncologie clinique du Québec (Q-CROC), financed by Fonds de partenariat pour un Québec innovant et en santé. For details, visit exactis.ca