Professor Christian CHABANNON
Title of Presentation
PRECISION MEDICINE IN MODERN ONCOLOGY: how to manage flows and collections of biological samples?
Date and Place
Christian Chabannon is a Professor of Medicine in Cell Biology at Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) School of Medicine and a full member at the Institut Paoli-Calmettes (IPC), the comprehensive cancer centre in Marseilles, France. A haematologist in training, Pr Chabannon has a long-standing interest for cellular therapies – including hematopoietic stem cell transplantation – and their use in oncology, and for clinical research at large. Since year 2000, Pr Chabannon is the curator of the IPC tumour bank that he helped transform in a “Biological Resource Centre in Oncology”, nowadays considered as a key institutional asset to speed up the development of precision medicine and foster clinical and translational research at his institution. Pr Chabannon has also worked with the Institut National du Cancer (INCa, the French NCI) and other interested parties to coordinate actions of French tumour banks at regional and national levels.
At the European Biobank Week conference in Vienna, Pr Chabannon will describe how precision medicine develops in the field of oncology, and how we need to get prepared for the increasing flows of samples and annotations that go along with these high-amplitude changes in medical practices.
Oncology is likely one of medical disciplines that has most benefited of recent progress in analytical technologies. The combination of morphological, immunological and molecular information at large has helped understand the mechanisms driving the different steps of many oncogenic processes, refine the nosology and evolve corresponding nomenclatures, improve prognostication, design targeted therapeutics and better manage follow-up. Biology is not the only field where progress was made: imaging and surgical or other invasive procedures also witnessed considerable changes. As a result, “cancer” is nowadays a constellation of heterogeneous diseases most often defined at a molecular level, and many of which being “rare” or even “orphan” diseases. A conjunction of earlier diagnosis and less invasive procedures yields smaller tumour fragments for diagnostic, while a greater spectrum of analyses must be combined for accurate identification of the disease and treatment decisions. Innovative treatments become available at an accelerating pace, producing seemingly endless combinations; however choices between different therapeutic options increasingly rely on biological criteria describing the tumour and the host (“companion tests”). Tumour material can be obtained from different sources: the primary site, distant or metastatic sites, circulating tumour cells, circulating DNA.
In this rapidly evolving landscape of medical practices, managing the pre-analytical steps of growing flows of various categories of biological samples is crucial to good clinical care, good clinical research, and future good pre-clinical research. Most if not all of the key principles that have been implemented in biobanks are increasingly needed in the daily routine of an oncology program: control of conditions and delays between collection and the various analytical steps, use of robust identifiers, prioritization of sample usages in the best interest of patients and other stakeholders. Finally, organization of the preservation AND distribution of either the “leftover” part of samples collected in the context of standard care, or of additional samples that are specifically obtained during the conduct of biomedical research is essential to continuously support the advancement of science in oncology.