The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute of Christiana Care Health System is joining the Strata Precision Oncology Network to offer next-generation tumor profiling at no cost to patients with advanced or rare cancers.

Based on the results, eligible patients will be matched to the best available clinical trials or most innovative therapy. The project will begin Feb. 1.

Christiana Care joins a select group of health systems in the country that are part of the Strata Network. The nationwide Strata Trial is open to solid tumor and lymphoma patients upon diagnosis of advanced disease. Working with forward-thinking institutions like Christiana Care, Strata plans to provide genome sequencing of 100,000 patients in the next three years.

Cancer treatment is transitioning to a new platform. Treatments based on what the pathologist sees under a microscope are giving way to therapies based on a deeper genetic understanding of a person’s individual disease. Most patients treated at regional or community cancer centers do not undergo routine tumor genome sequencing at the DNA or genetic level until all standard treatments have been exhausted. The testing is expensive and not widely covered by insurance. Consequently, patients with advanced cancer are often unaware of the molecular features of their disease and, without widespread testing, pharmaceutical companies are having difficulty finding patients for trials of new precision drugs that target specific defects or mutations in the DNA code.

Tumor profiling requires a sample of the tumor tissue, either banked or from a new biopsy if that is part of the standard of care. Once genome sequencing is complete, a report detailing tumor mutations will be sent to the Graham Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary team of experts to review and, if appropriate, match the patient to an open clinical trial or recommend other therapeutic options. Patients who match to a clinical trial will be further screened according to Institutional Review Board and trial eligibility criteria. Not all patients profiled will match to a clinical trial.

The Strata Trial will be available at 50 hospitals across the network, covering 75,000 analytic cancer cases per year. Strata Oncology’s growing portfolio of partnered therapeutic studies is available to eligible patients at the primary cancer center in each network.

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