Cleveland Clinic gets $7.9M NIH grant for precision cancer medicine

Cleveland Clinic has received a $7.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further its use of precision medicine and data to treat cancer.

The funding will help form one of three national centers that will be part of the Radiation Oncology-Biology Integration Network. The facility aims to develop new treatment approaches by investigating the molecular mechanisms and efficacy of combined radiation and immunotherapy for bladder and head and neck cancers.

"Radiation therapy is a bedrock of cancer treatment, with about two out of every three patients with cancer receiving it," said principal investigator Timothy Chan, MD, PhD, chair of the Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology, in the Sept. 22 health system news release "Yet, despite its widespread use, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms and biology of response to radiation remains poor. The ROBIN center will enable us to develop more effective radiation and immunotherapy combinations and better understand how these approaches work."

Deidentified samples from patients in the clinical trials and those getting the current standard of care will be collected and stored at the 22,000-square-foot Cleveland Clinic BioRepository, a precision medicine biobank managed by Azenta Life Sciences.

Dr. Chan's lab will then analyze the samples to generate genetic insights into cancer treatment strategies. Separately, Jacob Scott, MD, PhD, radiation oncologist and head of the theory division at Lerner Research Institute's department of translational hematology and oncology research, will use artificial intelligence to study the temporal dynamics of the changes that occur as a result of treatment.

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