Groundbreaking cancer institute to be built in Oxford

Chan-Soon-Shiong Oxford Centre for Molecular Medicine will advance cancer care with individualised information at molecular level and state-of-the-art proteomic technology

The Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine (CSSIOMM) and the University of Oxford have announced a partnership that will see the establishment of the Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Centre for Molecular Medicine.

The first of its kind in the UK, the unit is designed to support the delivery of individualised, data-driven molecular-based medicine for the benefit of NHS cancer patients.

Using the most-advanced, sophisticated tools imaginable, we’re on a mission to solve the mystery of cancer, and establish an adaptive learning system where the power of one can inform many

The Chan Soon-Shiong Institute has made an initial commitment of $50m to advance clinical cancer care in the UK through genomic and proteomic driven diagnoses. These funds will provide doctors with large-scale sequencing capabilities for patient-level epigenomic, genomic, proteomic, and digital pathology data capture as well as novel tools and super-computing technology to support critical decision-making for cancer treatment. The centre will work in close collaboration with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Launching the project, England’s Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP, said: “This investment is a sign that Britain is leading the world in the exciting new field of genomic medicine. Breakthroughs in our understanding of how genetics determines how disease really works in patients is crucial to generating new treatments and medicines.”

He added: “This investment highlights the international confidence in the UK’s ability to develop better and more-personalised cancer treatments that can make a real difference to patients, especially in rare disease and cancer. The Prime Minister and I are determined to make Britain the best place in the world to discover and develop 21st-century medicines. That's why we have invested in the 100,000 genomes project, to create the world's-first large-scale hub of genetic and disease data. This partnership with the Institute for Molecular Medicine will help us to bring new treatments to NHS patients.”

And Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine, said: “Using the most-advanced, sophisticated tools imaginable, we’re on a mission to solve the mystery of cancer, and establish an adaptive learning system where the power of one can inform many.

“The infrastructure to manage big data must be established to enable a national network of clinical scientists in the UK and a portion of the $50m commitment will be used to fund the capital needs to ensure that patients throughout England could benefit from this genomic platform, with the remaining $35m provided to support the operations of the Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Centre for Molecular Medicine at Oxford.”

The Oford centre will receive a $35m grant to utilise next-generation patient information systems needed to support the acquisition and usage of high-quality sequencing data. This will enable new approaches to therapeutic decisions, drug discovery capabilities, machine learning predictive modelling and support for clinical trials to evaluate the impact of therapeutic interventions in large patient populations.

Through this partnership we will gain new understanding of how large amounts of genomic and other molecular data can be combined with clinical data to tell us much more about a patient’s cancer

“Through this partnership, we are furthering our ability to use cutting-edge technologies to allow radically-new approaches to cancer care,” said Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

“We will gain new understanding of how large amounts of genomic and other molecular data can be combined with clinical data to tell us much more about a patient’s cancer. The data will provide a rich resource for cancer research, drive the development of new drugs and support the design of clinical trials. And, ultimately, the treatment course a patient receives will be determined by the characteristics of the cancer they have. ”

Professor Andrew Hamilton, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, added: "The ability to understand the particular genetic and molecular changes underlying a patient’s cancer holds great potential for cancer medicine. The Chan Soon-Shiong Oxford Centre for Molecular Medicine will not only use the latest techniques to characterise tumour samples from patients, but investigate how this can be used to guide the treatments individual patients receive. That is a truly exciting prospect, and the partnership between the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine and the University of Oxford will have a pioneering role to play in making personalised medicine a reality for cancer patients."

The centre will be co-located with the new Precision Cancer Medicine Institute, also announced today, where the clinical applications of its research will take place. It will have strong links with the Target Discovery Institute and Big Data Institute, all part of the major investment in cancer diagnosis and treatment being made by the University of Oxford over the next five years, the most-comprehensive investment in this area of any UK university.

“This partnership will evaluate and provide comprehensive molecular diagnostics from genomics to proteomics integrated with clinical data for cancer patients with the aim of identifying the right treatment for the right patient at the right time,” said Anna Schuh, head of the new centre.