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Forging New Paths in Precision Medicine

Three cancer clinical trials offer access to personalized profiling, monitoring and targeted treatment

Precision Medicine

Patients at Lehigh Valley Topper Canter Institute are benefiting from a leading-edge collaboration with Strata Oncology, a genomic testing and precision medicine company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Two ongoing clinical trials are providing advanced tumor profiling and monitoring services, while a third will soon investigate the potential of targeted cancer therapies.


The initial Strata trial, which began in 2016, analyzes tumor samples with the StrataNGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) comprehensive genomic profiling test that assesses DNA and RNA in solid tumors. Identifying patients with specific biomarkers may allow physicians to treat them with therapies targeted to their particular of tumor tissue, which makes the test accessible and applicable to a wide spectrum of patients. Nearly 700 Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute patients with cancers including lung, colon and melanoma have participated in the Strata trial.

Strata Sentinel

The Strata Sentinel trial, which began in 2021, is monitoring individuals with stage 1, 2 and 3 solid tumors who have undergone or are planning to undergo curative surgery or definitive cancer surgery. These patients submit tumor and blood samples that are used to create a genomic profile of the tumor tissue and design a test targeting specific mutations. Individuals then have blood draws every three months to search for circulating tumor DNA, which may be an early sign of cancer recurrence.

“Most patients worry about their cancer recurring, and this test provides a measure of reassurance.” – Suresh Nair, MD

Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute has enrolled 20 patients in this trial under the guidance of Suresh Nair, MD, Physician in Chief, Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute.

“There’s a high level of patient interest in this trial,” Nair says. “Most patients worry about their cancer recurring, and this test provides a measure of reassurance. One of my patients referred to his negative result as a sign that he was in molecular remission.” Nair adds that the test provides qualitative as well as quantitative results, giving physicians the ability to detect recurrence in its earliest, most treatable stages.

Strata PATH™

The Strata PATH (Precision Indications for Approved Therapies) trial, which began in 2021, expands tumor profiling and detection capabilities in order to map FDA-approved and commercially available cancer therapies to individuals’ specific biomarkers. Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute hopes to enroll more than 300 people in this trial starting this fall. For now, the trial will be limited to patients with stage 4 solid tumors who are receiving palliative treatment.

“The Strata PATH trial will help assess and fine-tune potential targeted treatments,” Nair says. “We hope to demonstrate the benefits of precision oncology in real time.”

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