Providence Health & Services recently announced that surgeon-turned-entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of NantHealth, will serve as the health care system’s new global director for cancer services and bioinformatics.
In his new role, Dr. Soon-Shiong will work closely with oncology clinicians and researchers across the Providence system to ensure that ever member served by Providence has access to the most promising cancer treatment options in the world.
Through his Chan Soon-Shiong Institue of Molecular Medicine, Dr. Soon-Shiong and Providence plan to create the country’s first clinical genomic network for whole genomic sequencing. Through genomic medicine, the study of how people’s genetic structures influence disease, Dr. Soon-Shiong plans to redefine cancer care for the masses.
Together, they have installed an Illumina HiSeq X Ten sequencing system to establish the first CLIA-approved clinical facility to drive molecular decisions for patients.
Illumina introduced the new DNA sequencer in January as the first system to break the $1,000-per-human-genome barrier, reported Forbes. The HiSeq X Ten consists of 10 machines and has a list price of $1 million.
Providence will be the first health care system that will use the new sequencing system to provide a comprehensive view of each patient’s disease available to date. Oncologists currently prescribe a course of cancer treatment based on the anatomical location of the cancer.
Dr. Soon-Shiong’s recent analysis demonstrated that the molecular signature of a cancer patient is independent of the anatomical tumor type, a stark contrast to widely held medical assumptions. These findings have the ability to vastly improve treatment recommendations.
Instead of prescribing a cancer treatment simply on a diagnosis, Providence hopes to analyze a cancer patient’s genetic data in mere seconds. A course of action specific to that patient’s molecular makeup can then be tailored.
“Our opportunity is to fundamentally change how cancer is treated,” said Dr. Rod Hochman, president and CEO of Providence, in a news release. “No longer will cancer treatment be guided simply by a diagnosis. With the leadership of Dr. Soon-Shiong and the many leading oncology clinicians and researchers across our five-state organization, we will have a vast amount of genetic information, technology and science to pinpoint the best care and possible outcomes for patients.”
According to Dr. Soon-Shiong and Dr. Randy Axelrod, executive vice president of clinical and patient services at Providence, cancer genomics has the potential to reduce cancer treatment costs upfront by making clinical decision-making more accurate and efficient, they told Modern Healthcare.
“We are living our commitment to clinicians and patients alike,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong. “Using the most advanced, most sophisticated tools imaginable today, we are on a mission to solve the mystery of cancer and establish an adaptive learning system where the power of one can inform many. Partnering with Providence and the many clinicians treating cancer patients across its five-state system will dramatically advance how we care for people facing cancer.”