Aurora Cancer Care Launches Precision Medicine Program to Bring Greater Cancer Treatment Options to Patients

Aurora St. Luke’s-based clinic will be first in Wisconsin to use Syapse technology to increase access to clinical trials, provide more data on treatment options

April 24, 2017

Milwaukee, Wis. Aurora Cancer Care has launched a new oncology precision medicine program that will help physicians and researchers provide more care options for patients whose cancer is resistant to conventional treatment options like radiation and chemotherapy.

The new multi-disciplinary Oncology Precision Medicine Clinic will be located inside the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center and will leverage molecular profiling technology to help patients explore additional treatment options that take into consideration the genetic characteristics of their tumors.

The clinic will include representation from medical oncology, pharmacy, pathology, research and genetic counseling services, and will be the first facility in Wisconsin to feature  Syapse, a leading precision medicine software system that brings together previously fragmented clinical, molecular, treatment and outcomes data to support complex clinical decisions and facilitate new physician workflows.

Syapse works together with Aurora’s electronic health records system to provide clinicians the ability to access and compare real-world treatment and outcomes data from other leading cancer centers across the nation through the Oncology Precision Network (OPeN), the nation’s largest precision oncology data sharing network of not-for-profit health systems which includes Intermountain Healthcare, Stanford Cancer Institute, and Providence St. Joseph Health.

Through OPeN, cancer experts will be able to share treatment and outcomes data from more than 100,000 patients while preserving individual patient privacy and security.

The molecular genetic makeup of each tumor will be compared with patient outcomes, providing potential insights into how certain treatments may be more effective. Through the network, clinicians can see the impact of treatment options in a shorter timeframe as compared to more traditional clinical trial outcome studies, which can take years to see the results. This increased access to data and outcomes through OPeN may allow faster treatment options for patients.

Additionally, Syapse will serve as a ‘match-maker’ for some patients to gain access to more clinical trials.

“Precision medicine is the future of cancer care and a topic of great discussion on both a regional and national level, including at the Cancer Moonshot Summit in 2016,” said James Weese, M.D., F.A.C.S., vice president of Aurora Cancer Care. “To bring the depth and experience of Syapse and OPeN to nearly 8,000 new cancer patients we treat each year means we’ll be able to offer more treatment options, and also make smarter choices on treatments based on analyzing biological markers in tumors to see what’s worked well with similar tumors from across the country.”   

Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center will be the first location where the oncology precision medicine software will be implemented in the fall of 2017, and all 19 Aurora Cancer Care facilities throughout eastern Wisconsin will have access by early 2018.

Michael Thompson, M.D., Ph.D., a board-certified hematologist and oncologist, with a doctoral degree in pharmacogenetics, will serve as co-director of the program; Jennifer Godden, Pharm.D. will be the program’s other co-director, which will also include dedicated medical oncologists and a molecular pathologist.

“Syapse allows us the potential to make much more informed decisions by leveraging molecular technologies to see what treatment options have been most effective against certain types of cancers,” said Thompson, a clinical researcher who specializes in blood cancers. “And through OPeN, we’re able to - in some instances - improve access time to clinical trials, which is critical to helping patients seeking care.”

Aurora Cancer Care is a leading provider of cancer treatment options in Wisconsin through Aurora Health Care. With 19 cancer-specific treatment centers throughout the region, one in four patients treated for cancer in Wisconsin receive treatment at Aurora Cancer Care. To learn more, visit or follow Aurora Cancer Care on Twitter at @Aurora_Cancer.


About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit health care provider in Wisconsin and northern Illinois and is a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is the area’s most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 33,000 caregivers. As evidenced by more than 300 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.

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