2014 Analyzing an Archive of Tumors
Marie-Josée Kravis has served on the overseers’ board at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for decades, and she heads the board of its research arm, the Sloan Kettering Institute. Her husband, financier Henry Kravis, was also interested enough in the Center to ask officials whether its long experience in the field could be combined with new advances in gene sequencing. The Kravises eventually offered $100 million to create a new center for molecular oncology at the New York City facility. Within a week of the public announcement, six new-generation gene-sequencing machines were being installed at the hospital. These will be used not only to analyze the tumors of 10,000 active patients each year, but also to explore the characteristics of “archived” tumors from more than a million patients who have been treated at MSK since 1980. The genetic qualities of each preserved tumor will then be compared with the archived records of that patient’s care and his or her final treatment outcome. This cross-referencing of deep biological and clinical records could uncover important patterns previously undetected by physicians, and lead to new directions in treatment.