The Molecular Twin initiative brings diverse experts in clinical and computing fields to solve oncology questions using virtual replicas of thousands of patients’ biological samples and clinical information to help identify the most effective approach to each individual's disease. By creating these "molecular twins," scientists can build a database of cancer-specific genes, tumor proteins and relevant pathways to be mined by investigators around the world.
The effort goes far beyond “single-omics”—the extent of most institutions’ forays into personalized medicine through a DNA, RNA or protein screening—into a realm of linked information comprising thousands of data points per patient. The overarching ideal of the Molecular Twin undertaking is tumor-agnostic precision medicine for everyone.
From Concept to Reality
Cedars-Sinai has already expanded from collecting comprehensive samples for just pancreatic cancer to collecting samples for breast and lung cancers, too, and is working to incorporate radiomics and more comprehensive analyses of the tumor microenvironment. In the next few years, all major tumor types will be included in the Molecular Twin program. Longitudinal sampling and multi-institutional collaborations will further strengthen the platform’s ability to draw accurate conclusions and patient-specifiic insights.
Cedars-Sinai Cancer facilitates sample collection from patients of all backgrounds by promoting one-stop-shop clinics for cancer. These enable patients to receive truly integrated, multidisciplinary evaluations and treatment plans—as well as invitations to participate in research—in a matter of hours, instead of over the course of a half-dozen separate appointments.
“The platform enables the discovery of parsimonious biomarker panels with similar predictive performance to that of larger and resource-intensive panels, and thereby has a significant potential to democratize precision cancer medicine worldwide.”
– Arsen Osipov, MD