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Alexander Bankier, MD, PhD
Sara Schiller, Alexander Bankier and Bilal El Kaddouri

Some thoughts on DEEP-Lung-IV … 
The Department of Radiology at UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Memorial Health is both proud and honored to be part of the DEEP-Lung-IV project spearheaded by SOPHiA. Many wise and comprehensive comments have previously been made about the overall importance of the trial and its potential clinical and research implications.

Today, I would like to add to these comments some more personal remarks and highlight the impact that this trial has on our local work at UMass.

Week by week, we run our clinical conferences with colleagues from oncology, pathology, pulmonology, and nuclear medicine, presenting and discussing cases that yield the unexpected: a sudden improvement, a sudden deterioration, a change in clinical course, morphology, or behaviors of disease that simply does not play “by the books”. Our explanations for this unexpected element often remain hypothetical, and the unspoken feeling prevails that there is “something” there that we do not understand. But is this “something” just deplorably pointing at our limited intellectual capacities? Or, which I would prefer for purely selfish motives, is this “something” unrecognized and therefore disturbingly mysterious because it reflects a complexity that we cannot grasp, as we have not yet developed the appropriate tools to do so? Should this be the case, what else than the DEEP-Lung-IV platform would be better equipped to develop these tools, mitigate some of our disturbing uncertainties, and guide us toward more concise and stringent insights into advanced lung cancer?
From the very onset of our collaboration with SOPHiA, we felt “at home” with DEEP-Lung-IV. Although based in the US, in the “hub” of Massachusetts, our group represents a diverse conglomerate of individuals with international backgrounds. So does DEEP-Lung-IV. Our group is a colorful combination of cultural and linguistic identities, and of culturally diverse approaches to perspectives, strategies, and opinions. So does DEEP-Lung-IV. Our group has approached our scientific and clinical questions with multi-facet and unconventional creative approaches. So does DEEP-Lung-IV. Our conversations are often switching between languages, sometimes a bit chaotic, but always full of creativity and imagination. UMass and SOPHiA are just a good fit!
Embarking onto DEEP-Lung-IV with SOPHiA has crystalized for us as a Department how crucially important the collaboration with innovative companies like SOPHiA GENETICS is. In recognition of this insight, we have started to build a robust departmental infrastructure for sponsored clinical trials, aimed to provide excellent services to our sponsors, invigorate research, and eventually improve the care of our patients.  
I will not end this note without expressing my gratitude to some of the individuals who have substantially contributed to the success of our collaboration. First and foremost, my thanks go to my research assistant Dr. Bilal El Kaddouri. Without Bilal’s hard work, persistence, and patience none of this would have happened. I also would like to thank Sara Schiller, our new Clinical Trials Coordinator in Radiology. Sara will gradually oversee the administrative aspects of our collaboration and work on making things even better. Finally, I would like to thank the entire SOPHiA team for their exceptional support and encouragement. In particular, my thanks go to Sarra Sough and Marion Brayer, whose gentle but determined guidance have steered us towards the path of success.

Alexander Bankier, MD, PhD
Professor of Radiology,
Department of Radiology, UMass Chan Medical School
Chief, Cardiothoracic Imaging Division
Vice-Chair of Academic Affairs