Content - Personalized oncology: national funding for a project launched by CHUV in collaboration with HUG, Inselspital and SAKK

Personalized oncology: national funding for a project launched by CHUV in collaboration with HUG, Inselspital and SAKK

A personalized oncology project launched by Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Geneva University Hospital (HUG) and Inselspital in partnership with the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) has been awarded major funding at a national level

Backed by the federal government, the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) initiative has decided to award CHF 2.3 million to this project, which aims to network the molecular and clinical data from a large majority of cancer patients in Switzerland.

Personalized oncology offers new therapeutic perspectives for patients with cancer. However, its practical implementation requires many stages of disease management to be rethought, starting from the molecular examination of cancer tissue, through storage and analysis of these very large data sets and ultimately their interpretation in order to arrive at innovative therapies.

The aim of this personalized oncology project, known as SPOD (Swiss Personalized Oncology Driver), is to pool all the molecular and clinical data derived from oncology patients at CHUV, HUG, Inselspital Bern, Fribourg hospital and most of the oncology treatment centres at hospitals in Switzerland through the network operated by the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK). Advanced text analysis methods developed at HUG will complete the process of capturing structured clinical data. SAKK will play an important role in coordinating the non-university centres, which have been very keen to take part in the project.

These data will inform the personalized management of patients in Switzerland by structuring the capture of the clinical and molecular data needed to arrive at an appropriate therapy. They will also allow patients to be followed up over time. The data will be exchangeable and accessible to all the project partners. Professor Olivier Michielin, Head of the Department of Analytical Personalized Oncology at CHUV and project lead, commented: “We are delighted to be able to make these data available to all the university hospitals and the centres affiliated to SAKK. It is the first fundamental step in developing an ambitious personalized oncology programme in Switzerland.”

Professor Olivier Michielin has been appointed to the SAKK Board with the task of developing personalized oncology. This position will enable the Swiss Personalized Health Network project to be integrated optimally into the work done by the centres affiliated to SAKK.

The planned approach is based on experience gained by the Oncology Network of French-speaking Switzerland, a grouping set up by HUG and CHUV. It combines the expertise of a large number of specialists at the two university hospitals who exchange experience during a weekly multidisciplinary conference open to oncologists working at regional hospitals throughout French-speaking Switzerland.

Another project launched at the same time by Bern University is working closely with the CHUV project. It aims to standardize the extraction of sequencing data to enhance their interpretation. These two projects will benefit from outstanding synergies and will enable Switzerland to play a pioneering role in the field of personalized oncology.

The Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN) is a national initiative aiming to promote the development of personalized medicine and personalized health in Switzerland. It operates under the auspices of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) with the ultimate goal of achieving a more targeted approach to preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases. This in turn will enable patients to be treated more effectively with fewer side effects. The SPHN is allocating funding for the first time in 2017, supporting 15 projects with a total of CHF 15.7 million.




To find out more: Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research SAKK, Flurina Hoffmann, Head of Fundraising & Communications, Effingerstrasse 33, 3008 Bern, tel.: +41 31 508 41 78, e-mail:



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