The Applied Proteogenomic Organizational Learning Outcomes (APOLLO) network is a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to incorporate proteogenomic into patient care as a way of looking beyond the genome, to the activity and expression of the proteins that the genome encodes. The emerging field of proteogenomic seeks to improve how we predict patients will respond to therapy by screening their tumors for both genetic abnormalities and protein information—made possible by advances in proteomic technology.
Recently in New York City Clarence Massey of Harlem was treated at the VA in New York. Participating in APOLLO, he is receiving personalized treatment. Massey’s outcome has been good—his has been in remission and credits the VA doctors. Dr. Craig Shriver, an architect of APOLLO and director of the Murtha Cancer Center Research Program in the department of surgery at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD notes “each patient is unique, and each tumor unique.”
APOLLO Seeks 8,000 Patients in 5 Years
APOLLO is starting operations at 10 military hospitals and one VA site (Palo Alto), with additional VA sites likely to be on board by late 2019. There is also one civilian hospital involved, Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland. Cancer patients at these facilities can agree to have their information—including molecular results from their tumors—added to the growing APOLLO research database. All information is coded, so patients are not personally identifiable to researchers. The enrollment target is 8,000 patients over five years.
The effort will work hand in hand with VA’s Precision Oncology Program. Through POP, increasing numbers of VA patients with cancer are having their tumors genetically analyzed, so their physicians can prescribe more targeted therapies, or so they can be referred to appropriate clinical trials.
Vietnam Veteran Clarence Massey is thankful his battle with cancer is long behind him. For others his age and younger who are destined to face a similar challenge, APOLLO and its deep dive into the science of cancer is likely to mean better treatment, and added years of life.