Progress in cancer genomics has ushered in a new frontier in which a patient's cancer will increasingly be characterized by mutations and other molecular abnormalities rather than the site of origin. Findings from molecular diagnostic tests are then evaluated against the ever-increasing number of therapeutics being developed in translational research and clinical practice to improve patient outcomes. Pooling of data and experience is critical in exploiting this new era of molecular medicine, which is a major driver of collaboration among the UC Cancer Centers.
Clinical studies, which explore the safety and efficacy of new drugs, are the primary method through which advances in cancer treatment are made. Academic cancer centers seek to make available a wide variety of clinical trials to their patients. These include early phase trials that test the toxicity of emerging drugs in patients to late-phase trials that explore the effectiveness of promising drugs against various cancers. The aim will be to make clinical trials much more widely available across the state, giving patients more choice and increasing the pace of enrollment.
California is the most ethnically diverse state in the country. Increasingly, research shows that cancer’s prevalence, virulence, and response to treatments can vary widely among different ethnic groups. There are significant disparities in both incidence and outcome between people of different ethnic groups, caused by genetic, environmental, cultural and socioeconomic factors. Working together we can share our experiences and implementation of new measures to reduce these disparities.
BIG DATA, BEST PRACTICES
It has been said that the millions of gigabytes of data in the public realm hold keys to everything from repurposing approved drugs to delivering better care more safely and less expensively. Using data from the UC system and public sources present opportunities to harness immense amounts of data to revolutionize care and cost, while protecting patients’ privacy. Collaboration across the five UC Cancer Centers presents an opportunity to share clinical pathways and best practices, while also allowing for a greater critical assessment of the patient experience to improve quality of care and patient outcomes and reduce costs.
AUTHORITIVE ADVOCACY FOR CANCER PATIENTS IN CALIFORNIA
The overall mission and collective expertise of the UC cancer centers make the Consortium a powerful voice to advocate on behalf of patients on matters of access, quality, cost, and public health both at the local and state level. This patient advocacy could also occur by introducing and implementing statewide initiatives, or through recommendations for legislative action. In addition, a unified group of NCI centers possesses an advantage when applying for competitive funding from public and private sources. In the past three years alone, there have been very large philanthropic investments in ambitious projects that incorporate leading experts from institutions around the US.