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Virginia Mason Joins National Effort to Transform Outcomes for Pancreatic Cancer Patients

SEATTLE – (Oct. 4, 2016) — Virginia Mason is one of 12 initial sites included in a new national clinical trials consortium established and announced today by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

  Vincent Picozzi, MD
Vincent Picozzi, MD

Called Precision Promise, the consortium is the first large-scale precision medicine trial designed to transform outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Bringing together the field’s key stakeholders, including clinicians, researchers, diagnosticians and drug developers, Precision Promise aims to put the patient at the center of every decision and advance the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s goal to double survival by 2020. 

“Every patient’s cancer is different and requires personalized care,” said Vincent Picozzi, MD, director of the pancreaticobiliary program at the Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason. “We are honored to participate in Precision Promise. It will bring leading-edge treatment options to patients with pancreatic cancer by understanding each individual’s unique molecular profile and matching them with treatment options designed to work best for them.”

      Vincent Picozzi, MD, says, “We are hoping Precision Promise will be a ‘game-changer’ for the field of pancreatic cancer.”   

Facilities participating in Precision Promise were selected through a competitive peer-reviewed process. In addition to Virginia Mason and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the other participants are: Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles); Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (Boston); Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York); University of California, San Diego; University of California, San Francisco; University of Chicago; University of Florida, Gainesville; University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia); and Washington University (St. Louis).

Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and has a five-year survival of just 8 percent. Nationally, only 4 percent of pancreatic cancer patients enroll in clinical trials.

“Precision Promise will dramatically accelerate the clinical trial process to bring promising therapies to patients faster,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “Precision Promise is an unprecedented opportunity for patients and is vital to move the field forward. Instead of looking for the right patient for a clinical trial, we are designing the right clinical trial for each patient.”

Consortium participants will investigate multiple treatment options, called sub-studies, under one clinical trial design that utilizes an individualized treatment approach based on the molecular profile of a patient and his or her tumor. 

The sub-studies are designed to be nimble and dynamic, so a patient can shift to another option quickly without wasting precious time between clinical trials. The system will constantly evolve the treatment options by integrating current research and the most up-to-date science and knowledge available. 

Currently, important genetic data and clinical trial results are fragmented across various institutions and drug developers, and some important results may never be shared publicly for researchers to learn from these findings. Through Precision Promise, all data from the initial twelve clinical trial consortium sites will be analyzed together so scientific findings are gathered and disseminated to the research community in a timely manner.

“We are hoping Precision Promise will be a ‘game-changer’ for the field of pancreatic cancer,” added Dr. Picozzi, the consortium’s principal investigator at Virginia Mason.

Sub-studies can be added for newly discovered biomarkers and treatment approaches, so the field can learn which patients will most benefit from these new developments, and get new, effective treatments to patients sooner.

Starting in the spring of 2017, patients can enroll in a Precision Promise clinical trial at Virginia Mason or Fred Hutchinson. Each patient will undergo advanced molecular profiling to determine the tumor’s unique molecular features, which will inform which Precision Promise sub-study will best match their individual needs. Once in treatment, patients will be monitored closely and follow-up analyses will be conducted to provide important clues to help researchers quickly understand the effectiveness of each treatment in real time.

Precision Promise is partnering with health-tech company, Tempus, to utilize its cutting edge genomic sequencing and analysis methods. Also, Clinical Research and Biostatistics will provide statistical analyses, data management support and clinical monitoring for the trials.

The Precision Promise infrastructure is uniquely collaborative and cooperative, led by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and an executive committee co-chaired by Andrew Biankin, MBBS, PhD, University of Glasgow; and Diane Simeone, MD, University of Michigan; and featuring working groups of leading experts and drug developers, all of which are providing expertise and guidance. Halozyme Therapeutics, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Tempus and Trovagene, members of the industry working group, are supporting the effort.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online: VirginiaMason.org

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Yakima-based Memorial Family of Services and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, a 226-bed facility serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial Family of Services comprises primary care practices and specialty care services, including high quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Memorial online: YakimaMemorial.org

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@VirginiaMason.org