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High-powered technology to use test results on genetic mutations to match Main Line Health cancer patients with clinical trials

March 22, 2022 Research News

Over the last 20 years, understanding of the human genome has enhanced scientists’ ability to develop a universe of new drugs targeting specific types of cancer. However, these advances have made the process to match a patient and a drug increasingly more complex. An innovative technology is now coming to Main Line Health that will take the results of molecular testing and quickly match cancer patients to clinical trials for new drugs being developed to fight their disease.

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), the research division of Main Line Health, and the health system have agreed to work with San Francisco-based Syapse to bring the Syapse Learning Health Network and multisource data platform to the health system. Based on genetic mutations identified in molecular testing ordered by their oncologists, patients will be matched by the Syapse platform to any clinical trials underway at Main Line Health that may be beneficial and also identify suitable trials at other sites across the country.

“Syapse’s technology puts Main Line Health at the cutting edge of biomedical research in clinical oncology and will benefit our patients tremendously,” said George Prendergast, PhD, president and CEO of LIMR. “This data-driven approach will ensure our patients know if they are eligible for a clinical trial of a potentially life-saving targeted therapy. Clearly, this is a direction that hospital systems nationwide should be headed.”

“This initiative is another example of our cancer program’s place at the forefront of providing optimal care for our patients,” said Michael Walker, MD, medical director, Main Line Health Cancer Care. “Our oncologists already work as a team on patients’ cases and treatment plans. Automating the process of determining which patients are eligible for trials ensures our specialists have the best information at their disposal as they collaborate on giving patients all the options to fight their cancer.”

The Syapse platform will be refreshed regularly, incorporating new patient test results and the protocols for any new clinical trials nationwide. LIMR clinical research coordinators will notify the oncologist any time the system flags a patient as eligible for a trial. Patient confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

"There will be significant and multiple benefits in terms of cancer clinical trials,” said Paul Gilman, MD, director, LIMR Clinical Research Center. “It will help our research coordinators to find suitable patients for our trials, our clinicians to provide novel therapies for our patients, and our patients to have the best options for treatment."

The platform will also allow Main Line Health to tailor its trials to the community. If researchers determine from the platform’s insights that a large number of patients have a particular mutation but no trial is available in the health system, LIMR can apply to join one organized elsewhere.

Ultimately, data from the Epic medical records system used during patient treatment will be added to the Syapse platform to provide information on trials in real time.

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR's mission is to improve human health and well-being. Using its ACAPRENEURIALTM model that integrates academic and entrepreneurial approaches, faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new strategies to address formidable medical challenges including cancer, cardiovascular disease, tissue regeneration, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR's principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and clinical research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.


Larry Hanover
Communications Manager, LIMR
Office: 484.580.1186
[email protected]