Five more cancer centers and their affiliate hospitals recently joined the Strata Precision Oncology Network, a collaboration platform that aims too match cancer patients with relevant clinical trials.

A total of 50 hospitals are now participating in the Strata network, cooperating in research and serving more than 70,000 patients annually. The program is aligned with the Precision Medicine Initiative, a long-term research endeavor, involving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and multiple other research centers, which aims to understand how a person's genetics, environment and lifestyle can help determine the best approach to prevent or treat disease

The network offers advanced solid tumor and lymphoma patients profiling and matching to a portfolio of biomarker-matched clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical firms.

“We are pleased that this clinical trial will allow us to offer routine, no-cost tumor sequencing to patients with advanced cancer,” says Mark Burkard, M.D., an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin. “By addressing key barriers to patient participation, we hope to enable increased access to precision medicine clinical trials.\

Participating providers have adopted a test, called the StrataNGS, which is an 87-gene assay that sequences DNA and RNA to identify patients who are appropriate candidates for targeted therapies.

I understand that it has been a productive meeting. I thank all of you for taking part and sharing your insights and experience in this very important area.

Nuclear and radiation safety is a national responsibility, but the IAEA’s 168 Member States recognise the importance of international cooperation. Through conferences such as this, and in many other ways, the Agency plays a key role in enabling countries to share experiences and best practices.

IAEA Fundamental Safety Principles and Safety Standards have established a strong framework for nuclear safety throughout the world.

IAEA Safety Standards are not legally binding, but they are used voluntarily by almost all countries to protect people and the environment from harmful effects of ionizing radiation, in health care and other areas. Robust safety measures are essential for ensuring public support for the use of nuclear technology.

The IAEA is also very active in helping countries to make optimal use of radiotherapy and nuclear medicine, as well as diagnostic and interventional radiology.

It is estimated that around 10 million people undergo diagnostic, therapeutic or interventional procedures involving medical radiation every day. Ensuring that such procedures are safe is an integral part of our work.

Pharmaceutical firms get access to stratified patient populations, which shorten clinical development timelines and can accelerate approval of new cancer medicines with a goal of profiling 25,000 patients annually.

“This partnership will give our patients the opportunity to participate in precision medicine clinical trials without leaving the state of Delaware,” says Nicholas Petrelli, M.D., medical director at the Christiana Care Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. “Tumor profiling is becoming the state-of-the-art" in cancer treatment, propelled by advances in information technology and databases that support patient records and matching initiatives.

The five new participating cancer centers include University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Kettering Health Network and Ochsner Health System.

They join existing participants that include University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Metro Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium.

The use of ionizing radiation in medicine greatly benefits individual patients and the general health of populations which are fortunate enough to have access to this technology. It is essential that patients and health professionals are protected from the harmful effects of radiation.

Five years ago, at the last IAEA conference on radiation protection, participants from 77 countries and 16 international organizations agreed on the Bonn Call for Action. It set out a roadmap for strengthening radiation protection in medicine. Progress has been made since then in implementing the 10 actions that were agreed.

At the IAEA, we have developed online tools on safety in radiotherapy, radiological procedures and interventional cardiology. These tools help to reduce unnecessary and unintended exposure of patients and staff. We also maintain a Radiation Protection of Patients website, which is a leading resource for health professionals and patients.

Other organizations have also taken action. But we all have much more work to do. This conference has highlighted several opportunities for improvement. For example, participants described their wider use of clinical decision support systems in radiology. These help referring physicians and radiologists to make the right decisions and reduce unnecessary exposure.

This will help to keep patients and health professionals as safe as possible during procedures involving radiation by strengthening education and training.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am confident that your work this week will make an important contribution to improving radiation protection in medicine throughout the world.

I thank our co-sponsors, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. I also thank you, Mr President, for your skilful and effective leadership during this Conference.

I now declare the Conference closed.