IDBS, the UK-based provider of software for data capture, storage and sharing, has been enlisted in a Canadian programme that aims to redefine cancer as a collection of rare diseases with specific molecular signatures, aiding stratification in drug development.

The Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General Hospital in Quebec and Q-CROC, the Quebec Clinical Research Organisation Consortium, will use IDBS’ Translational Science Solution to support a new initiative aimed at collecting prospectively all primary tumours across the Canadian province.

The personalised-medicine programme will follow patients throughout their cancer trajectory, including tumour relapses that might involve participation in serial biopsy trials run by Q-CROC, a network of research centers and healthcare facilities extending across hospitals and universities in Quebec.

The aim is to build a vast biobank and accompanying database that will facilitate identification of, and access to, patient sub-groups for cancer research.

Molecular signatures

Researchers conducting serial biopsy trials through the Q-CROC network – initially with breast-cancer, melanoma and colorectal-cancer patients – will use the IDBS solution to capture molecular signatures for omics data profiled from patients’ metastatic cancer tumors.

This will help the scientists to understand cancer subtypes and their characteristics, as well as in determining the molecular signatures of therapeutic resistance to specific oncology treatments.  

“We need to understand cancer subtypes and their molecular signatures and this creates big, complex datasets,” noted Dr Gerald Batist, director of the Segal Cancer Centre and scientific director of Q-CROC.

IDBS’ Translational Science Solution will “enable us to capture, integrate and analyse not only our own data but also other datasets such as public sources”, Batist added. “We need to perform extensive computer manipulation to gain even the most basic analysis.”

Structured approach

The Segal Cancer Centre’s cancer-research strategy calls for “a completely new and structured approach to data capture and manipulation”, commented Neil Kipling, chief executive officer and founder of IDBS.

By implementing the Translational Science Solution, the Centre will be able to work with “continuous streams of information” from its own and public sources – “and ultimately data from across the pharma community”, Kipling explained.

“This will enable researchers to get that much closer, that much quicker, to identifying the specific molecular signatures,” he added.