February 04, 2016
Rochester, N.Y., USA – The University of Rochester Medical Center announced it’s collaborating with
Indivumed, a Germany-based company, to establish a bank of human tissues and tumor samples
that are expertly preserved and stored for use in cancer research.
The URMC signed a three-year agreement with Indivumed; financial details were not disclosed.
Approximately 15 other research institutions have formed similar partnerships with the company—
including Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., the
Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, and several medical centers in Europe—enabling a
worldwide network for researchers to access the biological specimens.
“Collecting and properly preserving human tissue is critically important to cancer research, but it’s
difficult to fund and requires a specialized set of skills and expertise to build such a program,” said
David C. Linehan, M.D., the Seymour I Schwartz Professor and Chair of the URMC Department of
Surgery, and director of clinical operations at the Wilmot Cancer Institute. Linehan will be the
supervising investigator for the URMC-Indivumed partnership.
“Our collaboration allows this to occur in an organized, coordinated way that will benefit all cancer
researchers here at Wilmot and the URMC,” Linehan said.
Top-quality tissue-banking is an invaluable resource for both cancer treatment and research.
When it comes to deciding on cancer treatment, more often doctors are considering a tumor’s
unique gene characteristics and whether those pathways can be targeted with newer drugs. But in
order to run the sophisticated tests that reveal a cancer’s precise genomic fingerprint, very high
quality tumor specimens and tissue samples must be properly preserved with protocols designed to
support genomic analysis.
And in cancer research, it’s challenging to collect and reproduce meaningful data without a reliable
bank of tissue that has been preserved in a consistent way. Importantly, Linehan said, the URMCIndivumed
tissue bank will include information that correlates with patient survival, response to
treatment, and whether the tumor was resistant to certain therapies, for example.
“This partnership allows us to engage in precision medicine in a much more substantive way,” said
Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., Vice Dean for Research at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“Indivumed is a world-class operation and is very interested in collaborating with our researchers to
drive innovation. By participating in the Indivumed global network, we’ll have access to a critical
mass of biological samples and clinical data for use in unique clinical trials for our community.”
The program starts immediately, and includes collection of many types of cancerous tissues such as
pancreatic, colorectal, lung, and breast. Wilmot patients will be asked to consent to having their
tissue included in the bank for research purposes.
“Attaining individualized cancer diagnosis and treatment for every patient based on reliable clinical
data and molecularly intact bio specimens is our goal,” said Hartmut Juhl, M.D., founder and CEO of
Indivumed, and a cancer researcher. “Our tool for achieving this goal is the establishment of a
unique cancer data base using molecular information from tissues collected under stringent
protocols. The University of Rochester Medical Center and its Wilmot Cancer Institute are world
leaders in cancer research and clinical-care delivery and the perfect partners to change the paradigm
in cancer research, making possible precision medicine for all patients.”
Added Carolyn Compton, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Indivumed’s scientific advisory board, chief medical
officer of the National Biomarker Development Alliance and a former director of the National Cancer
Institute Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research: “We are facing a crisis of global
proportion in the clinical and scientific community regarding reproducibility of biomedical research
data, to which wide variability in the collection and utilization of biological samples for research
contributes. Factors such as how long it takes to freeze samples after they are removed from the
body can affect both molecular composition and quality of a tissue sample being studied. The URMC
and Indivumed have positioned themselves well through this collaboration to address this most
important challenge to scientific and clinical innovation.”.
About University of Rochester Medical Center
One of the nation’s top academic medical centers, the University of Rochester Medical Center forms the
centerpiece of the University’s health research, teaching, patient care, and community outreach missions.
Over the last 5 years, URMC has garnered more than $1.27 billion in biomedical research, landing it in the top
one-quarter of U.S. medical centers in federal research funding. The URMC health system serves
approximately 1.7 million upstate New York residents as well as patients from across the country. The anchor
is Strong Memorial Hospital, an 850-bed, University-owned teaching hospital officially designated as a Level
One Regional Trauma and Burn Center. The URMC also is home to Western New York’s only cardiac
transplant program, the Wilmot Cancer Institute, Golisano Children’s Hospital, and has relationships with
several other hospitals in the region.
About Indivumed GmbH
Indivumed has established the world’s leading high-content tumor database and highest-quality biobank to
support the development of new cancer companion diagnostics and therapies. Aside from having
implemented a highly standardized biospecimen collection process and a unique clinical infrastructure with
clinical partners in Germany and the US, Indivumed offers a broad range of specialized research services to
biopharmaceutical companies and academia and actively performs a cancer biomarker development
program. With its subsidiary IndivuTest GmbH, Indivumed provides high-quality tissue-based tumor analysis
to patients and started an initiative with oncologists in Germany and the US to improve personalized cancer
therapy strategies in the clinical routine.
For more information, please visit www.indivumed.com.
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