Israel makes cancer treatment breakthrough with genomic profiling

Science and Health

A collaboration agreement that will promote personalized cancer treatment based on genomic profiling for cancer patients has been signed by the Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, the Roche-Israel pharmaceutical company and Roche’s affiliate in Massachusetts, Foundation Medicine. It will be the first such integrated model to be offered in Israel.

For the first time in Israel, Hadassah will offer oncology patients a unique integrated model of genomic profiling tests based on molecular and bioinformatics technologies the companies to enable precise disease-targeted treatment at every stage. 

“Implementing the integrated model will allow us to provide patients with the most advanced and innovative diagnostic tests for cancer,” said Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Yoram Weiss.

Genomic profiling tests to provide more accurate results

Under the agreement, comprehensive genomic profiling tests will be provided for Hadassah patients for more accurate cancer diagnosis, using the AVENIO kit for solid tumor diagnostics, and Foundation Medicine tests that will be sent to labs abroad. 

“The implementation of the integrated model will enable us to provide patients with the most advanced and innovative diagnostic tests for cancer,” Weiss added. “This collaboration is the result of concerted work by our teams to establish a unique model that positions Hadassah at the forefront of personalized cancer care in Israel and worldwide. Genomic testing for each patient will allow us to understand the molecular characteristics of the tumor and provide the most precise treatment available, among the treatments available in Israel and within the clinical trial framework, leading to the best possible outcomes. It will also make it possible for us to develop more AI-based tools to enhance patient care.”

View of the Hadassah hospital in Mount Scopus in Jerusalem on March 15, 2017. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“The collaboration with Hadassah is the fulfillment of the Roche group’s vision in the field of personalized medicine and making these tools accessible to medical centers in Israel,” noted Netanel Amichai, director-general of Roche Diagnostics Israel, and Avi Danziger, head of Roche Pharmaceuticals Israel. “In addition to clinical advantages, this partnership will significantly advance scientific and research aspects of cancer management, potentially leading to further collaborative efforts that stem from this important milestone.”

Prof. Eli Pikarsky, director of Hadassah’s pathology department, said that “currently, a limited number of cancer patients who are in advanced stages of the disease or those who do not respond to conventional treatments are eligible to receive genomic profiling. With this collaboration, we can perform genomic profiling for every patient, which benefits the patients on one hand and significantly increases the data available on the disease at its various stages on the other. Analyzing a large dataset will allow us a deeper understanding of each patient, the disease, and the treatment.”

“We are proud to provide cancer patients with the best molecular characterization and are convinced that it will immediately lead to an improvement in the quality of treatment for many patients,” commented Prof. Aharon Popovtzer, director of Hadassah’s Sharett Institute of Oncology. “Additionally, this collaboration will allow us to develop innovative tools and offer many patients at Hadassah new drugs through clinical research.” 

Comprehensive genomic profiling tests simultaneously allow the identification of all types of genomic alterations in a tumor, involving a large number of genes associated with cancer, in order to understand how cancer develops and grows. Accurate diagnosis of genomic alterations through advanced and precise genomic tests allows the treating physician to tailor the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, leading to optimal outcomes and avoiding unnecessary treatments. Hadassah Medical Center is one of the first centers in the world to sign the agreement with Roche.”