February of 2020 in Luxemburg, Dr. István Peták, Chief Scientific Officer of Oncompass Medicine, had a discussion with the members of the EU consortium about how to collaborate on targeted treatment strategy planning in clinical practice. The key component is our oncology software that can select the most effective cancer drug based on 24, 000 rules. The Realtime Oncology Treatment Calculator is proprietary medical software developed by Oncompass Medicine.
The EU-funded project is led by the Marie Curie Institute, which was the first to organize precision oncology clinical trial between 2012 and 2015 to compare the efficacy of 11 molecular matching targeted anticancer drugs with conventional therapies in patients where previous treatment protocols were ineffective.
“Our upcoming project is a clinical trial - explains Dr. István Peták - where a targeted anticancer drug is given in combination with a targeted immunotherapy to patients with squamous cell carcinomas. Using our decision support software, our goal is to find biomarkers that can predict which patients are expected to respond well vs poorly to this drug combination.” Nucleotide sequencing of all protein coding genes was done on all enrolling patients’ tumors by the European Institute of Oncology Milan, the other main participant of this consortium. The primary bio-informatics analysis is being carried out by experts from the University of Leipzig.
The CALCULATOR is a key player of this project by providing the digital interpretation and drug assignment. “Following the bio-informatics analysis, we receive the tumor DNA mutation raw data, - says dr. István Peták - approximately 160,000 variants per patient. Using our Calculator, we rank the identified mutations and determine the ones that are most likely considered driver gene mutations. Driver mutations are genetic alterations in the genome causing selective growth advantage compared to healthy cells contributing to tumor formation — while other mutations are non-contributory to the tumor.
After the calculation, researchers at Oncompass Medicine decide whether the matching drug combination would be more appropriate for a given patient or a different treatment. Our treatment recommendations will be shared with treating physicians of trial participants who then will continue treatments based on these recommendations.” Marie Curie Institute and Oncompass Medicine are developing an information communication collaboration where an electronic patient register created by the French professionals is made accessible for automatic communication with the Calculator.
"This allows standardization of handling data and information" French treating physicians would automatically receive our recommendations for the most optimal treatment - explains Dr. István Peták.
The content of our cooperation with the European Institute of Oncology Milan is quite similar. We are working with the Italian colleagues on how their oncology research hospitals could apply our digital decision support system. For several years now, many European Cancer Centers perform multi-gene molecular diagnostic tests, which are reviewed by the molecular tumor board. This is not the same as regular oncoteams, as molecular tumor board is a forum where we learn about all molecular information there is to know.
Molecular biologists create the molecular profile of a given patient's tumor, and based on the profile, there is a digital comparison of the effectiveness of the treatments currently available in the database. Finally, clinical oncologists suggest the optimal treatment for the patient’s physician or oncoteam. Our partners in Italy are planning to apply our software in this process.” Oncompass Medicine is also active in the United States. The company was recently invited to participate in a molecular profile based clinical trial.
Furthermore, Oncompass Medicine had a recent discussion with the head of R&D of a major international pharmaceutical company in Boston about how to optimise the cost of new drugs in development by using our digital decision support from the start to select groups of patients for molecular matching clinical trials. “By pre-selecting certain groups of patients that are most likely benefit from the drugs in question would greatly reduce the risks that pharmaceutical companies are facing - emphasizes dr. István Peták. This could also reduce the price of cancer drugs, which would be a major step towards cancer treatment.”
Oncompass Medicine is currently working on making different gene panels, developed by other diagnostic companies, applicable to the Calculator. Our long-term goal is to make the Realtime Oncology Treatment Calculator a decision-making rather than decision support system” - says the chief scientific officer.