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Published on November 10, 2015

Avera Joins WIN Consortium in Personalized Cancer Medicine

SIOUX FALLS (Nov. 10, 2015) - Avera is proud to announce that Avera Cancer Institute is the fifth medical institution in the United States to join the Worldwide Innovative Networking (WIN) Consortium.

Founded on the recognition that greater success can be achieved through collaboration than any organization can achieve alone, the WIN Consortium is a global network of leading academic, industry, insurance and non-profit research organizations working to make personalized cancer care a reality for patients worldwide.

Avera joins prestigious medical institutions including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York University Langone Medical Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

"The WIN Consortium offers an opportunity to make an impact on personalized cancer therapy across the globe by increasing the number of patients having access to innovative clinical trials and treatment with the latest innovative drugs,” said John Mendelsohn, MD, Chairman of the WIN Consortium and Director of the Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

To date, the approach in cancer care has been population medicine – treatments based on what has shown to be most effective for people with a certain type of cancer. In comparison, personalized medicine uses genomic analysis to discover the specific genetic drivers of a tumor, and target those drivers with treatment regimens.

“Personalized medicine is a concept of giving the right drug at the right time for the right person,” said Vladimir Lazar, MD, PhD, founder and Chief Operating Officer of the WIN Consortium. “WIN was created with a goal to go beyond what is now possible. As a member of the WIN Consortium, Avera will be on the front line of this transition. Not only will this work benefit patients at Avera, it will benefit cancer patients throughout the world.”

Avera’s genomic oncology team consists of Brian Leyland-Jones, MB BS, PhD, Vice President of Avera Center for Precision Oncology, and Casey Williams, PharmD, Director of Avera Center for Precision Oncology, as well as Avera Cancer Institute physicians (surgeon, oncologist, pathologist and interventional radiologists), research scientists, experts in bioinformatics, nurse practitioners and specialized nurses and pharmacists. The team collaborates with experts from across the nation in clinical oncology, pharmacology, clinical genetics, genomic informatics, bioethics and pathology.

“They are a rare group of people who are working to break into new frontiers and push knowledge beyond what is possible today. They are drivers, they are visionaries. Rarely do you see what I have seen at Avera,” Lazar said.

“We are thrilled to join the WIN Consortium. In the nearly two years since our team joined Avera, we have cared for more than 300 patients, and we are documenting exciting results,” Williams said.

“This is the age of genomic medicine. We’re at a pivotal moment in cancer research, when we can apply genomic profiling to targeted therapies. This will be absolutely transformative in the history of cancer care,” Leyland-Jones said.

About Avera Health

Avera Health is an integrated health system comprised of more than 330 locations in 100 communities in a five-state region. A full continuum of care is offered through 32 hospitals, 200+ clinics, retirement communities, home care, sports and fitness centers, with award-winning care in 60+ medical specialties. With more than 16,000 employees and physicians, Avera is the largest private employer in South Dakota. Avera is distinguished through technology and innovation. We are home to the world’s most extensive telemedicine network that serves 235 sites across a 545,000-mile footprint, and a world-class genomics program that translates the latest cancer research directly to patient care. As a health care ministry, we carry on the legacy of the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, delivering care in an environment guided by our values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship. For more information about Avera, see our website at

About the WIN Consortium 

Founded in 2010, WIN is unique structurally in that it brings together organizations from academia, business and not-for-profits to focus on translating the latest advances in personalized cancer medicine into the standard of care. WIN is built on the recognition that all stakeholders in personalized cancer therapy must collaborate and share information, in order to effectively bring the latest innovations in personalized cancer care to the patient. WIN is a non-profit organization formed by 40 renowned members: Academic cancer centres (25 centers in 17 countries), companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Agilent Technologies, GE Healthcare, Oracle Health Services, Foundation Medicine, Takeda, AstraZeneca and Pfizer), non-profit organizations such as EORTC, CRUK and Fondation ARC. WIN organizes an annual symposium in Paris dedicated to personalized medicine. For further information, please visit and

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