Letter from the Editors
The treatment of patients with cancer in the 21st century has evolved into a complicated algorithm, requiring knowledge of an individual patient's tumor mutation status prior to initiating therapy. Making mastery of knowledge even more difficult, tumor mutational profiling studies have revealed a high degree of molecular heterogeneity among cancers, though they may appear similar at the histological level. Even within single genes, such as that encoded by EGFR in lung cancers, mutations can be associated with primary drug sensitivity, primary drug resistance, or acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, while other rarer EGFR mutations have less clear significance. Staying abreast of fast-paced research changes is difficult for time-pressed oncologists and medical caregivers. Knowledge about rare variants found in cancers is hard to track down, especially in busy clinics. As an increasing number of patients have their tumors genotyped, there will be—and is already—a dire need for an interactive, easily accessible educational tool that provides up-to-date information to physicians on the clinical relevance of mutations in cancers and mutation-specific clinical trial availability at the point of care. Until 2011, no such tool existed.
In January 2011, the Vanderbilt–Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) launched the nation's first web-based precision cancer medicine knowledge resource, "My Cancer Genome," to enable a genetically informed approach to cancer medicine. Created by Dr. Mia Levy and Dr. William Pao and containing content written by physicians and physician–scientists from around the world, this online information tool is designed to quickly educate clinicians and others interested in the information. With just a few clicks, users of My Cancer Genome can get up-to-date information on the rapidly expanding list of genetic mutations that impact different cancers. Importantly, users can easily research various mutation-specific treatment and clinical trial options locally, nationally, and internationally.
The content is continually evolving. We started with cancers that are already recognized to have molecular heterogeneity and for which mutations already have relevance to existing and emerging targeted therapies. We plan to update the website regularly with new content, covering new genes and diseases. We welcome new contributors. No one person or institution can keep up with the pace and volume of data that is emerging. However, as a collaborative network, we can together move the field more quickly.
Because we believe that My Cancer Genome can eventually become self-sustaining, we have explored a wide variety of partnership opportunities. In February 2014, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and My Cancer Genome announced an agreement with GenomOncology, a technology company developing clinical tools to analyze genomic cancer data. GenomOncology holds the exclusive license to My Cancer Genome content, with non-commercial use of the My Cancer Genome website and mobile apps continuing to be open to the public. As part of the partnership, the groups are developing a decision support tool based on My Cancer Genome data. For more information, please see the APIs and Licensing page.