A new landmark publication in Nature Medicine reflects on the impact on patient care of the UK-wide Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification (OCCAMS) Consortium.
Professor Yeng Ang, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Salford Care Organisation, is second author on the paper and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the OCCAMS consortium.
It was launched in 2009 as a collaboration across the UK to improve understanding of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC). The 27 UK centres involved – including Salford Royal – have collected and curated a bioresource of more than 44,000 individual samples with clinical data from oesophageal and gastro-oesophageal junction (GOJ) adenocarcinoma patients. These are now being used to identify clinical, demographic, and molecular factors affecting development and progression of OAC to improve management of this cancer.
Focus on patients
OCCAMS was a key contributor to the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), ICGC 25K and ICGC ARGO projects, as well as the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) study. It has also contributed to the Cancer Research UK Grand Challenge Mutographs project and projects run by Genomics England.
Molecular and clinical data, as well as patient-derived organoids, from OCCAMS have been extensively used to understand various aspects of OAC. To date, there have been 33 collaborations within OCCAMS and 14 with external groups, including European and US partners from academia and industry, resulting in 34 research publications.
Prof Ang, who was a foundation member of the OCCAMS consortium in 2009, said: “There are more studies underway and these will undoubtedly provide further research outputs for OAC, which has a very poor prognosis at present. Our collaboration is sharply focused on patient care – we have strong patient representation to ensure that our research is relevant and reflects patients’ priorities. We have co-produced patient facing materials and patient led sessions at our flagship annual scientific symposium.”