June 11, 2018

Columbia Joins Global Consortium to Advance Precision Cancer Medicine

Project GENIE
Richard Carvajal (left) and Raul Rabadan are lead PIs on Project GENIE

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) has recently joined 11 new institutions to collaborate on Project GENIE, an ambitious consortium organized by the  American Association for Cancer Research . An international cancer registry built through data sharing,  Project GENIE , which stands for Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange, brings together leading institutions in cancer research and treatment in order to provide the statistical power needed to improve clinical decision-making, particularly in the case of rare cancers and rare genetic variants in common cancers. Additionally, the registry, established in 2016, is powering novel clinical and translational research. In its first two years, Project GENIE has been able to accumulate and make public more than 39,000 cancer genomic records, de-identified to maintain patient privacy. 

At Columbia, Project GENIE is being led by principal investigators Raul Rabadan, PhD , professor of systems biology , and Richard D. Carvajal, MD , asscociate professor of medicine. The two PIs, who are also members of Columbia's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) , which is taking the lead for CUIMC, are collaborating on GENIE with Cory Abate-Shen, PhD Andrea Califano, Dr , Gary Schwartz, MD and  Kevin Roth, MD . Collectively, the team brings an exceptional level of cancer research expertise to the project in such diverse areas as systems biology, theoretical physics, mathematics, pathology, medicine, oncology and hematology. 

As reported by HICCC, within the next few years for instance, users can turn to this database, gain critical insight about cancer patient profiles that could help them make better, more precise treatment decisions for patients or to advance research efforts; Project GENIE’s database could include, for example, information on malignant tumor development, and data for which drug or drug combination best treated a specific tumor type. The idea of Project GENIE is to be a repository for the largest possible amount of clinical-grade genomic and clinical outcomes data.

“Due to our ongoing commitment and leadership in precision medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center is well positioned to add to this effort,” says Dr. Carvajal, who directs experimental therapeutics and melanoma service at CUIMC. “We will provide our expertise in molecular pathology, systems biology and cancer therapeutics to this international effort to benefit our own patients and patients globally.” 

Read the full article  on HICCC's news page.