Source: fotografixx/Getty Images
Source: fotografixx/Getty Images

Long Island-based Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York State, announced today a collaboration with cancer research company Indivumed of Hamburg, Germany, to significantly expand Northwell’s biobanking capabilities that will be leveraged to develop new drugs and precision medicine approaches for the treatment of cancer.

The collaboration with Indivumed continues Northwell’s deepening commitment to providing leading-edge, research-based, translational medicine approaches for the more than 19,000 cancer patients it treats each year. In particular, the biobank expansion will significantly aid its ongoing cancer research partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which commenced in mid-2015. Last October, Northwell also opened the doors on the Imbert Cancer Centers, a $46.5 million, 46,000-square-foot, comprehensive, integrated, cancer care facility in Bay Shore, NY.

“This agreement is important on several fronts,” said James Crawford, M.D., Ph.D., executive director and senior vp of laboratory services at Northwell Health, and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. “Creating a system-wide approach to biobanking of human cancer tissues expands our ability to conduct metabolic, as well as gene-based, cancer treatment research. It will also facilitate patients being able to participate in and potentially benefit from cutting-edge clinical research without disrupting their routine treatment.”

Under the three-year agreement, Northwell will initially collect lung, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and other cancer tissues at three Northwell Health hospitals: North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and Lenox Hill Hospital. It plans to bring other hospitals in the system online in the future. Northwell Health cancer patients will have the opportunity to consent to having extra cancer tissue that was removed in the normal course of their treatment included in the biobank for research.

Working with Indivumed will aid Northwell in further developing its expertise in cancer genetics. This collaboration makes possible, new, individualized approaches to treatment available to patients, and Indivumed benefits by increasing its access to specimens and data it can use in its own research.

“Attaining individualized cancer diagnosis and treatment for every patient based on reliable clinical data and molecularly intact biospecimens is our goal,” said Hartmut Juhl, M.D., founder and CEO of Indivumed. “Our tool for achieving this goal is the establishment of a unique global cancer database using molecular information from tissues collected under stringent protocols. Northwell Health brings a special blend of a strong clinical trial program within the largest hospital network in New York State. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a clear research leader in this field. By building this new biobank together, we can make a dramatic difference in genetic-based precision medicine.”

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