The WIN Consortium is a new kind of organization - a network of research and medical institutes, universities and industry partners - coming together around personalized cancer therapy. It is a response to the need to make faster progress in fighting cancer, and the realization that we can only achieve this by working together.
On July 6, the partnering organizations (visit WINconsortium.org for a full list) gathered at the Palais de Congres in Paris and formally launched the WIN Consortium. MD Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D., was unanimously elected to chair the WIN Directorate, the executive group in the organization.
Drs. Thomas Tursz and Vladimir Lazar from Institut Gustave Roussy were elected vice-chair and chief operating officer, respectively (see photo), with additional officers to follow. The newly elected chairs of the Scientific Advisory Board were this year's meeting organizers: Dr. Leroy Hood, head of the Systems Biology Institute, and Dr. Richard Schilsky, past president of ASCO.
The WIN objectives fall into the following areas:
1. To validate, harmonize and standardize tools allowing early diagnosis and individualized approaches for cancer treatment.
2. To initiate and conduct new types of clinical trials, based on assigning treatments that target the genetic and molecular abnormalities identified in an individual patient's cancer.
3. To generate shared tumor specimens and databases including all available clinical, imaging and biological characteristics of patients enrolled in such trials.
4. To assist investigators in raising the necessary funding to conduct such trials, through either grant applications in various countries or direct collaborations with pharmaceutical companies.
5. To promote research and education in personalized cancer therapy, primarily through an annual meeting in Paris.
The second annual meeting was held July 7-10 and featured a long list of prominent speakers from many of the WIN member organizations, covering a large spectrum of issues surrounding personalized cancer therapy. The conference closed with a follow-up business meeting, as the WIN Consortium got down to managing the first details of forming and starting to work on the big challenges ahead.