Also, on Friday, February 26, Intermountain’s president and CEO, Dr. Charles Sorenson, and Dr. Raj Srivastava, Intermountain’s Research medical director, will meet with Vice President Joe Biden in Salt Lake City. In meetings with Intermountain leadership and other Utah medical organizations, Vice President Biden will discuss the administration’s “moonshot” effort to cure cancer.
Intermountain has been studying precision medicine extensively for the past several years and has developed its nationally leading Precision Cancer Genomics program. The program has been recognized for being able to conduct DNA testing that typically matches advanced cancer patients with medications that lengthen lifespan and improve quality of life, all at about the same cost of traditional cancer therapies.
At Intermountain Precision Genomics’s in-house laboratory, experts analyze the DNA and genetic makeup of a cancer patient’s tumor, enabling detection of the individual genes with errors in a person’s cancer to determine treatment options. The testing is proprietary to Intermountain Healthcare, but access to it is available to oncologists anywhere. The testing serves patients with late-stage cancer who have failed in a traditional treatment method.
Intermountain is the only integrated healthcare system in the nation with the capability of testing and providing treatment for the greatest number of actionable gene mutation types, offering the most advanced next-generation sequencing available. In addition, Intermountain is typically able to gain access to limited distribution and specialty drugs for its patients.
Nearly 80% of the patients treated at Intermountain Precision Genomics have been connected to targeted drug therapies. No other healthcare system has had comparable success. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which focuses on destroying rapidly dividing cells, targeted therapies identify other features that are more specific to cancer cells. These medications work in individual ways, but all interfere with the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair, and/or communicate with other cells.
Intermountain Precision Genomics’s expertise is enhanced by the fact that Intermountain Healthcare has the nation’s largest biorepository, started in 1975, which stores more than three million tissue samples used for the advancement of cancer and other research.
Intermountain Precision Genomics has recently published several studies related to this ground-breaking cancer therapy, including:
“These results are significant and encouraging,” said Dr. Nadauld. “They underscore the value of precision medicine to patients today, offering increased survival without increasing costs.”
Intermountain has collaborated with Syapse, a technology company, to utilize software to help with this process. The software provides a web-based interface for oncologists to order molecular tests, view genomic results and molecular tumor board interpretations, make a treatment recommendation, and order drugs targeted to a patient’s specific genomic makeup.
“Syapse and Intermountain are leading the way in the clinical implementation of precision medicine, turning the Precision Medicine Initiative’s vision of improved cancer care into a reality for patients in the community,” said Jonathan Hirsch, Syapse founder and president, who will also attend the summit. “Our work has demonstrated that precision medicine improves survival and reduces costs. We believe that precision medicine will be the core enabling technology for health systems to transform to at-risk, value-based care.”
Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based, not-for-profit system of 22 hospitals, 185 clinics, a Medical Group with some 1,400 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health plans division called SelectHealth, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare through high quality and sustainable costs. For more information about Intermountain, visit intermountainhealthcare.org.