At Foundation Medicine, we firmly believe that precision medicine is the future of cancer care. And if we want to make this future a reality, we need collaboration. Collaboration across multiple partners is essential to realizing the full potential of innovative new technologies that may change the way we identify and treat cancer. One of these new technologies is a blood-based genomic profiling assay, also known as liquid biopsy.
Liquid biopsies have the power to detect predictive biomarkers for cancer therapies without the need for a tissue sample. With this non-invasive assay, cancer diagnosis and personalized care could be tailored with a simple blood draw.
To maximize the potential impact of this approach, we are proud to be a partner in the development of a new open database, the Blood Profiling Atlas. This initiative, composed of representatives from government, academia, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, aims to “accelerate the development of safe and effective blood profiling diagnostic technologies for patient benefit.” As a leader in cancer biology and molecular diagnostics, we are in a special position to work with the government to help shape the future of liquid biopsy in cancer care.
Prior to joining Foundation Medicine, I was on the other side of the table, and I worked closely with senior members of Congress for almost 15 years. My experience taught me that no lobbyist, advocacy group or person is more impactful than a coalition of stakeholders that have actually put their “skin in the game” for a greater good. I cannot emphasize enough that our future as an industry will be largely defined by the way we inform and shepherd through public policy now.
It is this belief that drives our approach to partnering and collaboration. Last year we shared genomic data from 18,000 cancer cases with the National Cancer Institute’s Genomic Data Commons. We’re also leading the Precision Medicine Exchange Consortium, a data exchange program that is designed to facilitate sharing of molecular information.
Like these programs, the Blood Profiling Atlas brings together renowned experts with a shared passion for innovation. This collective effort has the potential to guide and improve clinical trial efficiency and enrollment and accelerate the research and development of blood tests for precision medicine. By combining our diverse strengths, we have our best shot at advancing research to provide accurate and reliable liquid biopsy testing for as many patients as possible.
We’re at a special moment in history where we can and must participate in such initiatives that drive momentum. The path ahead is greater than any single organization, and we are committed to working with the global cancer community as we push forward. I am eager to witness the full potential of liquid biopsies unleashed in the near future, and we need to urge others to join us because accelerating the pace of change is something we can all help accomplish. This is truly a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As a society built on innovation, a society that values life, we cannot afford to let this opportunity pass.