Glenn D Steele Jr MD PhD
Glenn D. Steele Jr, MD, PhD

Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa, plans to partner with Indivumed, Hamburg, Germany, a leading provider of services enabling individualized cancer therapy, a relationship that will afford Geisinger patients access to advanced cancer treatment and clinical trials.

“This exciting initiative with Indivumed, a company recognized the world over as a leader in the field of biobanking and translational research, will give Geisinger patients access to the most advanced cancer therapeutics in the country, right here in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.” says Glenn D. Steele Jr, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer at Geisinger Health System.

The collaboration will allow Indivumed staff to collect tissue, blood, and urine from consenting Geisinger patients who are already undergoing a surgical tumor resection. Upon resection, a portion of the sample remaining beyond what is required to make a clinical diagnosis will be banked by Geisinger through MyCode™, a repository that currently holds 43,000 patient samples. Another portion will be banked by Indivumed, which will analyze the tissue to determine its molecular and biochemical profile. That information will be used in the development and, eventually, application of targeted therapies for cancer patients.
“A comprehensive analysis of patient’s individual cancers including DNA sequencing, determination of protein expression, and activity of therapy-relevant cancer pathways is the foundation of personalized cancer treatment,” said Hartmut Juhl, MD, CEO, Indivumed. “Understanding that the donation of tissue is a deeply personal one, our work is conducted under stringent quality standards and with great care in order to quickly translate new scientific discoveries into the practice of medicine.
Indivumed is an integrated oncology company that leverages its biorepository of human tissue samples with its diagnostic lab to develop individualized cancer therapies. While it is focused on tissue testing, its subsidiary Inostics (founded by Indivumed and scientists from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore) is analyzing circulating tumor DNA in plasma to determine therapy-relevant cancer mutations and to monitor disease. The overall goal is to understand the biological differences between tumors and how patients respond to treatments to support the implementation of personalized therapy. To this end, Indivumed maintains a biobank of tissues and annotated data from about 17,000 patients–with about 1,500 new cases added per year–each collected under exacting specifications.
Research demonstrates that proteins change expression profiles significantly within minutes following surgical resection. Many of those proteins might serve as biomarkers for new drugs. Therefore, controlled and rapid tissue processing is necessary for understanding biological differences of or within patient tumors, especially when developing targeted therapies. Indivumed follows highly standardized processes that enable the company to limit cold ischemia time–the time between removal of tissue from the body and the time it is preserved–to less than 10 minutes, guaranteeing tissue samples maintain their biological integrity.
[Source: Geisinger Health System]