The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine: Re-inventing the patient pathway

The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine (MFICM) at the University of Cambridge aims to revolutionise cancer care by affecting patients along their treatment pathway.

The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine is jointly funded by The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre
The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research

The Foundation supports cutting-edge, innovative scientific ideas that will answer the most complex questions about cancer biology and lead to new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. The Foundation was established by Alex Knaster and is led by Michele Cleary, PhD. It has funded over 100 grants in 50 institutions globally in 6 different countries.

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research is dedicated to accelerating cures for cancer by integrating discoveries in biology with innovative technology. The Foundation pursues its mission by funding a global portfolio of ground-breaking research carried out by individual investigators, multi-investigator teams, and inter-institutional collaborations.

The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine

The MFICM hosted at the University of Cambridge aims to revolutionise cancer care by using cutting edge analytics to maximise the use of diverse, high-volume data sets. The virtual institute exploits recent advances in machine learning and big data technology to capture, integrate, and derive insight from clinical, genomic and imaging data collated from hundreds of cancer patients in real time. Laboratory, clinic-based researchers, and data experts are working together to develop sophisticated computational integration of these diverse data types into a single platform which can inform and predict the best treatment decisions for each individual patient.

The MFICM includes the critical individuals and technologies needed to deliver a revolutionary new cancer treatment paradigm. During the course of the initial three-year funding, this paradigm will be applied to manage patients with breast cancer as part of the PARTNER and PARTNERING clinical trials and will be extended to other trials in renal, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer, as well as B-cell Lymphoma. Longitudinal Data Streams will be integrated that simultaneously report the functional biology of tumours among cancer patients receiving active treatment.

The continual, iterative and integrated analysis of these complementary, complex data streams – made possible by advanced machine learning and other computational approaches – will enable a new decision matrix for optimal cancer treatment selection and improved chance of cure.

Vision and goal

The vision: To establish a revolutionary new cancer treatment paradigm that captures cancer heterogeneity in time and space in patients receiving active treatment, thereby transforming the way the world treats cancer to accelerate cures for all.

This is achieved by leveraging Cambridge expertise in cancer genomics, ‘liquid biopsies’ (detecting tumour DNA in the blood), molecular and digital imaging and 3D tumour mapping to generate data streams which are then integrated using innovative Cambridge-invented statistical algorithms to inform and predict best treatment decisions for each individual patient in real time.

Patients treated on prospective clinical trials with the support of our Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) will be subject to advanced imaging approaches including hyperpolarized MRI, PET and endoscopy to track and monitor cancers including metabolic pharmacodynamic response to trial therapies. Tissues procured in parallel will be submitted to the Cancer Molecular Diagnostics Lab (CMDL) for assessment of tumour ‘omics and ‘liquid’ biopsies including ctDNA and circulating tumour cells (CTC).

Integration of these and imaging data will enable personalised assessment of each cancer to build appropriate stratification, treatment and prediction of disease response and resistance. The development of precision cancer medicine strategies within the CRUK CC Programmes will be supported by the Integrated Cancer Medicine Shared Infrastructure-Resource with the overarching aim of developing standard of care precision medicine for all cancer patients.

Prospective clinical trials

We support specific projects aligned with our overall goal to develop a proactive approach to cancer that diagnoses cancer early and individually stratifies, treats and monitors patients.
We currently are supporting
• 4 prospective clinical trials in Breast, B-Cell lymphoma, Pancreas and Renal Cancer will be collecting multiple data streams
• Whole genome sequencing is being carried out as part of the Personalised Breast Cancer Programme
• Development and clinical translation of novel, first in man imaging probe – C2Am (apoptosis/necrosis marker) and 13C-fumarate (measures rapid onset of low level diffuse necrosis)
• Seven data integration projects ranging from genomics, advanced imaging and digital pathology in breast, ovarian and renal cancer

Collaborators

The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine has set up collaborations with fourteen departments within the University of Cambridge, ranging from Radiology to the Computer Laboratory, Biochemistry and many more. In addition we have strong collaborations with institutes in Cambridge such as The Wellcome Trust Sanger, The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

The MFICM is also collaborating with non-academic partners: AstraZeneca (co-sponsored clinical trials), Microsoft Research (Image texture analysis), GE Healthcare (Imaging) and AACR GENIE (genomics).

Opportunities

We are a dynamic collaboration of researchers, clinicians and scientists based in Cambridge and are always looking for novel ideas and additional collaborations.

Contacts

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
University of Cambridge
Department of Radiology
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute