Welcome to the fall edition of the Caris Connection eNewsletter. We launched this eNewsletter in June 2020 as a way to communicate various elements of Caris’ growing precision oncology capabilities and to feature the remarkable progress taking place across the POA sites. The feedback that we have received on the first edition has been overwhelmingly positive. I appreciate the candid opinions that you have offered and promise that we will incorporate your suggestions in the upcoming issues.
We hear the term “Big Data” quite often and every reader might have his or her own definition of what this term means. According to Wikipedia (which I learned is a major research source for the lay public), Big Data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.
At Caris, we have invested heavily in our data capabilities because we knew that leveraging the data allows better interpretation of the science that can improve patient care. Over the years, we have accumulated over 200,000 molecularly profiled individual patient data sets with matched outcomes and clinical variables. Studying the combination of clinical, molecular and outcomes-based data longitudinally allows clinicians to better understand the patient journey in the era of precision oncology.
This collective information is now made available to all POA member sites and investigators by accessing our data repository platform, called CODEai™. The bioinformatics and the scientific teams at Caris have spent countless hours perfecting this platform so that it is user-friendly and allows for data output that is conducive to clinical research and care. We envision this platform transforming how we conduct research at Caris and invite you to explore the power of CODEai as you consider submitting your research proposals. Phil Stafford, VP of Bioinformatics at Caris, is our guest author in the Scientific Advances section of this newsletter and he will provide a better understanding of bioinformatics, its utilization within medicine and oncology, and what the future holds within the exciting field.
There are other features in this newsletter that I invite you to read. In our Know Your Investigator section, you can read a one-on-one interview I had with Dr. Emil Lou from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lou provided me with quite the education on how GI cancer metastasizes and shared with me the fascinating translational work he is doing in the lab.
Since our first “Caris Molecular Minute” podcast launched a few months ago, we have had the opportunity to record a few more episodes. On our channel you can find interviews with Dr. Michael Korn, Caris’ Chief Medical Officer discussing Caris’ MI FOLFOXai™ signature, Dr. Tian Zhang from Duke discussing urothelial cancer, and Dr. Stephen Liu from Georgetown discussing lung cancer data from the ASCO virtual meeting. And just last week we added our latest episode with Dr. Geoff Gibney, also from Georgetown University, where we discussed evolving strategies in treating melanoma in the era of precision oncology. These podcasts are quick and easy listens, especially in-between your Zoom meetings.
One last addition to make note of is our new POA meetings calendar. Here you will find a running list of all upcoming POA meetings and events. Whether it’s our Annual Molecular Summit Meeting or the 15 tumor type working groups that meet routinely throughout the year, these dates and the means to register for all of them can be found here.
Once again, I am thankful for the support that you have shown over the past few months in how best we can together take the POA to the next level. I am confident that by leveraging our superior scientific technology, data capability and collaboration, we will make a positive impact in our patients’ lives.
Until next time, stay safe.
Chadi Nabhan, MD, MBA, FACP
*Note: CODEai is only available to those POA institutions who have signed a CODEai™ agreement with Caris Life Sciences.
Dr. Chadi Nabhan
Chairman, Precision Oncology Alliance