Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute Furthers Commitment to Clinical Research & Innovation, Next Generation Sequencing in Advancement of Cancer Care; Adds New In-House, Precision Oncology Capabilities

SAP Partners | Health System / Oncology | <b>Florida Cancer Specialists</b>

Cross-disciplinary team promotes comprehensive, innovative cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC (FCS) today announced the formation of additional precision oncology capabilities and resources comprised of geneticists, informatics specialists, and database technologies that will enhance patient care through comprehensive analysis of molecular data. The newly formed FCS Precision Oncology Informatics Team is focused on facilitating and streamlining the delivery of real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) to FCS physicians, researchers, and drug development teams to enable optimized decision-making related to targeted treatment options and clinical trial matches.

FCS recently announced the addition of Ivenise Carrero-Gonzalez to lead the growing in-house Precision Oncology Informatics Team. Ivenise holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College and has extensive experience in cancer genetics. In this newly-created role, Dr. Carrero-Gonzalez will work side-by-side with FCS physicians, aiding in interpretation and clinical action based on genomic sequencing data, optimizing patient care, identifying targeted therapies, and enhancing clinical trial options.

Additionally, the statewide practice founded in 1984 is rapidly scaling its proprietary precision oncology knowledge base. The data contained within this database includes discrete, genomic variant information derived from FCS’ in-house and external reference laboratory next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing. This dynamic system will enable highly-efficient identification of targeted therapies and clinical trials based on the patient’s specific tumor type, ultimately resulting in a better experience for FCS patients.

FCS has also established a dedicated Research Informatics team, led by Amanda Warner, MS, RN, OCN, CAPM, CAHIMS. Working with recently appointed Vice President of Nursing & Research Colleen Lewis, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP, Amanda will deploy the new precision oncology informatics system within FCS’ existing research workflows and in close collaboration with key industry partners. This will extend FCS’ research capabilities into genomics-enabled population health analytics and harness the power of RWD and RWE to help drive innovation in incumbent and emerging therapeutic areas.

According to FCS Chief Executive Officer Nathan H. Walcker, the incubation of this team and ongoing strategic initiatives are testaments to intentional rigor and disciplined approach within the statewide oncology practice to focus on advancing cancer treatment while embracing innovation and collaboration at every opportunity.

“Being on the leading edge of healthcare, through investments in precision medicine, novel treatment pathways, and a steadfast commitment to delivering value-based care throughout the state, where and when our patients need us, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, identify, or any social status is ingrained in our core strategy as a practice,” says Walcker.

“FCS has embarked on a very conscious effort to streamline and optimize our clinical and research processes, introducing workflow efficiencies, enabling us to leverage RWD and RWE to quickly and accurately examine patient and disease characteristics, understand molecular biomarkers to facilitate identification of targeted therapies, and relevant clinical trials,” says Vice President of Informatics, Trevor Heritage.

In October of 2021, FCS launched the expansion of molecular testing capabilities within its pathology laboratory, enabling in-house next-generation sequencing available for testing solid tumors, hematologic malignancies and lymph nodes under the leadership and direction of FCS Associate Director, Genetics Laboratory Jennifer Gass, Ph.D., FACMG. Today, more than 1,000 patient cases have been analyzed, with volumes scaling rapidly.

Through its NGS tests, FCS pathologists can detect oncogenic mutations in hundreds of different genes, tumor mutational burden, and microsatellite instability simultaneously. This form of genetic testing allows clinicians to make faster diagnoses of a wide range of cancers while providing recommendations for clinical trial options and personalized therapies based on each patient’s results.

Maintaining this level of laboratory services, molecular tumor support, data intelligence, and access to all phases of clinical trials in-house are differentiating factors rarely available within a community oncology practice.

President & Managing Physician Michael Diaz, MD said, “I am proud of our tremendous track record and future momentum we’re creating at the forefront of science and research. Pursuing early diagnosis and treatment innovations is a core part of our DNA at FCS, and it’s why we make it our life’s work to serve cancer patients.”

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About Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC: (FLCancer.com)
Recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with a national Clinical Trials Participation Award, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) offers patients access to more clinical trials than any private oncology practice in Florida. The majority of new cancer drugs recently approved for use in the U.S. were studied in clinical trials with Florida Cancer Specialists participation.* Trained in prestigious medical schools and research institutes, our physicians are consistently ranked nationally as Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

Founded in 1984, Florida Cancer Specialists has built a national reputation for excellence that is reflected in exceptional and compassionate patient care, driven by innovative clinical research, cutting-edge technologies and advanced treatments, including targeted therapies, genomic-based treatment, and immunotherapy. Our highest values are embodied by our outstanding team of highly trained and dedicated physicians, clinicians and staff.

SOURCE: Florida Cancer Specialists