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Sanford Health takes genomic medicine, research to Ireland

Apr 30, 2018 12:41PM ● Published by Alyssa McGinnis

Cancer patients in Ireland soon will have access to a clinical initiative and a team of experts from Sanford Health to help physicians determine the best treatment options for them.

The genomic medicine program at Sanford Health is expanding this spring through collaboration with the Hermitage Medical Clinic in Ireland.

“As part of its strategic intent in the development of research and innovation, the Hermitage Medical Clinic has signed a collaboration agreement on Genomic Cancer Testing with Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the world. Through this collaboration we are now able to bring patients, in Ireland, a world-class Genomic Cancer Testing service,” said its Chief Executive, Eamonn Fitzgerald.

“This is part of the Sanford Health Worldwide Clinics program to bring world class expertise in diagnostic and treatment opportunities to patients via strategic clinical partnerships in chosen countries around the globe,” he said.

Physicians from Ireland will open a clinical initiative that explores how genomic profiling of tumors might help improve treatment options for patients with advanced or rare forms of cancer. The initiative represents the introduction of genomic testing in Ireland as a tool for deciding on cancer treatment.

The initiative is modeled after Sanford Health’s GEMMA and COMPASS studies.

“This is just another way we are trying to make a difference around the world,” said Jonathon Bleeker, M.D., an oncologist with Sanford Health. “Our ability to collaborate with the providers who treat patients at this clinic will help advance treatment options in Ireland.”

In addition, physicians in Ireland will present results to and discuss findings with the Sanford Health Genomic Tumor Board utilizing real-time videoconference technology. The board is a team of experts with experience in cancer and genetics that develops personalized care plans for individual patients and uses genomic testing results as a component.

“We know from experience that our tumor board and our use of genomic medicine in cancer makes a difference in developing treatment plans for patients,” said Dan Blue, M.D., executive vice president of Sanford World Clinic.

The two organizations entered into a collaborative agreement in December 2017 as part of an expansion of Sanford World Clinic, Sanford Health’s international health care arm, which is in nine countries with more than 30 locations in an effort to foster partnerships with health care leaders in the development of sustainable services around the world.

The agreement establishes a clinical research office to extend precision oncology services in Ireland through a clinical research protocol modeled around similar initiatives conducted by Sanford Research in the United States.

The agreement with Ireland was part of a larger announcement where Sanford World Clinic also expanded into New Zealand, Vietnam, Costa Rica and South Africa. Sanford already has clinics in Ghana and China and owns a minority stake in a clinic in Munich, Germany.

“We are committed to collaborating on a world stage,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “We’re doing this through our world clinic expansion and by joining other experts internationally through research, partnerships and panel discussions to further help and heal others.”

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