ZonMw grant to optimize predictive tumor genetic testing for cancer therapy

Ligtenberg, Marjolijn.jpg

As leaders of a national consortium of 36 pathology departments and the Pathological Anatomy National Automated Archive (PALGA), Marjolijn Ligtenberg (photo up) and Katrien Grünberg, theme Tumors of the digestive tract received a grant of 1.1 million euro in the ZonMw program personalized medicine oncology to optimize Predictive Analysis for THerapy (PATH) in the Netherlands.

Targeted therapies are a breakthrough in cancer treatment. The big challenge is to predict which patients benefit from these expensive drugs. DNA analysis of tumor tissue is instrumental for this. Fast technological developments and complexity of these analyses demand a coordinated approach for optimal quality and access for cancer patients.


In the PATH project pathology departments and treating physicians will closely collaborate to meet these aims using the following approaches:

  1. Optimization of predictive diagnostics by innovation and continuous monitoring of diagnostic yield and turnaround times. As proof of concept, a new NGS-based approach developed at Radboudumc laboratory for tumor genetics will be implemented in multiple laboratories. The (cost-) effectiveness of this approach will be compared to other diagnostic procedures.
  2. Establishing a national expert network of multidisciplinary molecular tumor boards that translates complex or unusual DNA aberrations to personalized treatment advice, including possible enrolment in clinical trials. This network will also serve as a platform to interact with patient interest groups and other stakeholders.
  3. The clinical relevance of a large part of the combinations of DNA aberrations and drugs remains to be settled. To enhance this evaluation a synoptic reporting module will be built in PALGA, which enables coupling with treatment and response data as collected by the Netherlands Cancer Registry (at IKNL) and clinical audit registries (DICA). This module will be an indispensable link in the infrastructure for health technology assessment of targeted drugs and evaluation of care. As a first step, the effectiveness of the organization of predictive diagnostics will be evaluated.

ZonMw Goed Gebruik Geneesmiddelen, Personalized Medicine (846001001): Predictive Analysis for Therapy: PATH to Optimising Access to Personalised Cancer Therapy in the Netherlands. 



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