VA, DOD, NCI Partner for Precision Medicine Tumor Screening

Nathan Boroyan | Health IT Analytics | August 26, 2016

The APOLLO partnership will work to provide personalized cancer care based on patients' genes and proteins.

A new precision medicine partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will create the nation's first system that routinely screens tumors for gene and protein information in hopes of providing targeted, individualized therapies. The new program, the Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes consortium (APOLLO), is part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. APOLLO will initially focus on lung cancer patients at VA and DoD medical centers, with plans to include other forms of cancer down the road.

"APOLLO will create a pipeline to move genetic discoveries from the lab to VA clinics where Veterans receive cutting-edge cancer care,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald in a press release. “This is an example of how we are striving to be an exemplary learning health care system. We are proud to join our federal partners in this exciting initiative, and we expect it will lead to real improvements in the lives of those affected by cancer."

APOLLO program researchers and clinicians will classify Veterans' lung tumors based on changes in genes in the tumors and the levels of proteins. Their findings will be used to recommend targeted therapies or refer patients to appropriate clinical trials. As the program grows and more information is acquired, the data will be shared widely with clinicians and the global cancer community such as through the NCI's Genomic Data Commons, with the goal of learning how to provide precision medicine therapies to cancer patients in the future...