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Press Release

Cancer MoonShot 2020 and NantHealth Launch a Global Inflammatory Breast Cancer Working Group to Investigate Personalized Immunotherapeutic Treatment Options for Rare Disease

Cancer MoonShot 2020
Posted on: 30 Aug 16

Cancer MoonShot 2020, the nation's most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative, today announced the formation of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Working Group. The team consists of physicians, researchers and oncology professors from across the nation who have come together to focus their collective wisdom and expertise to identify and develop the most effective cancer-directed immunotherapy treatments for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).

Experts within the group will collaborate to develop multi-center, multi-national clinical trial protocols incorporating advanced diagnostics such as GPS Cancer test factors for improving understanding of the biology of this aggressive disease, patient selection for treatment and appropriate combination immunotherapy approaches with standard of care. GPS Cancer, offered by NantHealth, is a unique, comprehensive test integrating quantitative proteomics, and whole genome (DNA) and transcriptome (RNA) sequencing of tumor and normal germline samples to provide oncologists with a comprehensive molecular profile of a patient’s cancer to inform personalized treatment strategies and identify therapies that may have clinical benefit for the patient, including Quantitative Integrative Lifetime Trials (QUILT). GPS Cancer is performed in the CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited laboratories of NantOmics.

Key benefits of the Working Group branches of study include:

  • Physicians and professionals bring their expertise and combined years of knowledge and understanding from within a specific disease study to the collective;
  • Integrated clinical and translational research;
  • Real-time communication of current data;
  • Access to the most cutting edge technology available in immunotherapy research to date; and,
  • A keen familiarity with the special needs of patients with specific cancers.

“With the formal establishment of five other Working Groups focused on separate forms of cancer, the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program is developing a knowledge-base of oncology experts from renowned institutes who have impressive academic backgrounds and are working together to truly defeat a disease that has been a part of history for far too long,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., founder and CEO of NantWorks and leader of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program. “This year alone, the NCI predicts that over 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and more than 595,000 people will die from the disease. The potential immunotherapy can bring to massively reduce these devastating numbers is why the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program is focused on these multiple initiatives and why these Working Groups are fighting to win the war against specific cancers – both common and rare.”

Inflammatory Breast Cancer is a rare form of breast cancer that progresses quickly. Its symptoms differ from those of more common breast cancers and can therefore be harder to diagnose and have shown to be more difficult to treat. IBC is diagnosed as at least stage III and in some cases, approximately 30-35 percent of it has already spread to distant lymph nodes or organs and it is diagnosed as stage IV. The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Working group aims to provide patients and physicians with a greater understanding of the disease to eventually inform effective, personalized treatment options. The Working Group is being chaired by Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., Associate Director for Translational Research and Precision Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Board of Director of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer International Consortium, who will spearhead the team’s efforts with regular meetings and development of protocols.

“IBC is entirely different from other types of breast cancer – as a result, the symptoms, prognosis and outcomes all require specific, customized attention,” said Dr. Cristofanilli. “There are an estimated 15,000-20,000 new cases of IBC diagnosed annually. By joining the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program, the goal of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Working Group is to provide patients with novel immunotherapies and combination approaches for treating their cancer. Our hope is to one day address IBC before it can advance to an incurable Stage IV, and we’re looking forward to working alongside some of the brightest minds in cancer research to make this a reality.”

Esteemed members of the Working Group include:

  • Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., Associate Director for Translational Research and Precision Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Beth Overmoyer, M.D., Director of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • George Somlo, M.D., Director of Breast Oncology, Co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at City of Hope Medical Center
  • Patrice Viens, M.D., Professor of Oncology at Aix-Marseille University (France) and head of UNICANCER
  • Peter Fasching, M.D., Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen

“As IBC is a relatively rare subtype of breast cancer, fighting it will definitely be a team effort. Including the newest research approaches like integrated whole genomics and proteomics and novel immunotherapies, there is a great opportunity to increase the chances of survival for IBC patients. The unconditional collaboration between patients, doctors and researchers in our program gives hope that we make change happen soon,” said Dr. Peter Fasching, Head of the Breast Cancer Research Program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-EMN, Germany. “We are honored and excited to contribute and support the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program from Europe.”

“We recognize the urgent need to help address this aggressive form of breast cancer and are looking forward to working with this group of experts in order to achieve meaningful benefits for patients suffering from inflammatory breast cancer,” said Dr. Andreas Niethammer, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at NantKwest.

“Patients diagnosed with IBC face many barriers throughout their diagnosis and treatment; anyone who has been through the experience will tell you the same thing,” stated Valerie Fraser, IBC survivor and board member of the Inflammatory Breast Cancer International Consortium. “Because there is such limited education and knowledge about IBC, patients can suffer for weeks before they are accurately diagnosed – and unfortunately because IBC spreads so rapidly, they just don’t have any time to spare. The reality is we need more accurate data to fully understand this disease and to develop more effective, less toxic forms of treatment so patients have options to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, which may not be as favorable for IBC. This Working Group will offer each individual IBC patient innovative opportunities to change the way their disease is treated by exploring the biology driving their unique cancer, and harnessing their immune system in the treatment process. This personalized immunotherapeutic approach will be more precise, resulting in better overall outcomes for treating IBC. Many leading experts will collaborate, leverage advanced molecular technologies, and offer promising treatment options, so patients with IBC will finally have a strategic roadmap to successfully conquer this cancer."

Other established Working Groups in the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program include:

About Cancer MoonShot 2020
The Cancer MoonShot 2020 program is one of the most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative launched to date, seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. This initiative aims to explore a new paradigm in cancer care by initiating randomized Phase II trials in patients at all stages of disease in 20 tumor types in 20,000 patients within the next 36 months. These findings will inform Phase III trials and the aspirational moonshot to develop an effective vaccine-based immunotherapy to combat cancer by 2020. For more information, please visit www.cancermoonshot2020.organd follow Cancer MoonShot 2020 on Twitter.

About GPS Cancer™
GPS Cancer™ is a unique, comprehensive test available through NantHealth. GPS Cancer integrates whole genome (DNA) sequencing, whole transcriptome (RNA) sequencing, and quantitative proteomics through mass spectrometry, providing oncologists with a comprehensive molecular profile of a patient’s cancer to inform personalized treatment strategies. GPS Cancer testing is conducted in CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratories, and is a key enabler for Cancer MoonShot 2020, the world’s most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. For more information, visit and

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Business Wire

Last updated on: 30/08/2016

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