November Newsletter



 By Jens Rueter, MD and Andrey Antov, PhD, MBA

On behalf of all of the participating oncology practices in Maine, we are happy to share the latest progress updates for the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative.  To date, 460 patients have been registered on the study protocol and 59 medical oncologists at all sites are participating in the Study.   We have run approximately 40 Genomic Tumor Board (GTB) sessions reviewing more than 120 patients.  As a result of the MCGI-provided genomic testing and the GTB sessions there are several patients who are taking genome-informed, targeted therapies.    In addition, two external advisors have been added to the GTB advisory staff; Kathryn Arbour, MD from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center whose expertise is in lung cancers and David Ashley, MBBS, PhD from Duke whose expertise is in Neurooncology. 

This month we feature Christine Lu-Emerson, MD.   Dr Lu-Emerson is an MCGI Study clinician, the Division Director of Neurology at Maine Medical Center and Co-Director of the MMC Brain Tumor Center.

Chritine Lumerson


Dr. Lu-Emerson practices Neurological Oncology at Maine Medical Center. She received her MD from New York University School of Medicine, followed by a residency at University of Washington in Seattle and a Fellowship in the Neurooncology program at Massachusetts General Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. 

Beginning later this year, the Jackson Laboratory (JAX) will launch the MCGI patient awareness campaign. Support for this campaign was provided through a generous donation from Caroline and Wayne Morong, and came to fruition through the work of the JAX Advancement team. The campaign will focus on creating a greater awareness of MCGI amongst Maine cancer patients and the community at large. The campaign will include radio, television, digital/social and print promotion of the MCGI and its work to improve patients’ lives in Maine.

The MCGI has scheduled more than 30 Genomic Tumor Boards sessions in 2018 and sessions will continue in 2019.  Feel free to reach out to us at for the full list of scheduled GTB dates and details on CME offered for participants.


  • Wed,  December 5th at 12:30pm hosted virtually from Mercy
  • Wed, December 12th at 12:30pm hosted virtually from Mary Dow 
  • Thurs, December 13th at 4:00pm hosted virtually from EMMC
  • Tues, December 18th   at 12:30pm hosted virtually from HACCC
  • Wed, December 19th  at 12:30pm hosted virtually from PBMC 


  • Tues, January 15th at 12:30pm hosted virtually from HACCC 
  • Wed, January 23rd at 12:30pm hosted virtually from Mary Dow


Dates for Genomic Tumor Board sessions are subject to change. Contact us at with any questions or for current list of session dates. 

To learn more about MCGI, please visit our website at, including biographies of Clinical Steering Committee members and our External Advisors. The Initiative is thankful to our External Advisors and Steering Committee members for all they do to support the Initiative. We are also thankful for the many Maine oncologists, clinicians and research staff participating in the Study.


By Emily Edelman MS, CGC and Kate Reed, MPH, ScM, CGC

nov- education

MCGI recently launched a new line of education offerings. All MCGI clinicians, staff, and collaborators are now receiving short and targeted online education materials through email about twice per month. These education resources address a range of topics for both oncology clinicians and staff. They are intended to reinforce learning from Genomic Tumor Boards and address other questions and education needs identified by MCGI clinicians. 

See the latest case study below and test your knowledge! 

Case: Should TG's variant of unknown clinical significance affect her treatment?

TG is a 79 yo woman diagnosed with colon cancer, with a large tumor in the right lobe of her liver. Following initial surgery, she was treated with FOLFOX which was discontinued after initial response due to toxicity. She is currently being treated with irinotecan and panitumumab. Genomic tumor testing was ordered to identify potential therapeutic targets.

Results from ActionSeq:

  • Actionable variants (Tier I): none 
  • Variants of unknown clinical significance (Tier III): ERBB2 A386D 

What is the meaning of TG’s variant for her future treatment? 

  1. The variant is driving tumor growth, but we don’t yet have targeted therapies for the variant.

2. There is not enough information to know whether the variant is relevant for tumor growth.

3. A variant of unknown clinical significance is a marker of poor prognosis. 

4. TG should not proceed with any treatment until the significance of the variant is clarified.

In case you missed them, check out additional new offerings by clicking on the links below: 

Case study: Identify patients for germline testing

Essential elements to communicate about tumor testing 

Genomic tumor testing FAQ

Direct to consumer genetic testing for breast cancer risk

Have questions or suggestions? Not sure if you are receiving these emails? Contact

 News & Events 

2019 MCGI Forum

The 2019 MCGI Forum will be held on Fri April 5th through Sun April 7th at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME.  Registration for the Forum will open within the next few weeks. For more information please contact us at

Attendance is by invitation only.   Lodging and meal costs will be covered for invited Maine clinicians and research personnel.  Invitees may bring a spouse or guest; nominal meal charges will be assessed at registration for guests of invitees.  

The group will have complimentary access to unlimited local and toll free calls, in room coffee, wireless internet in guest rooms and public space, access to the business center, outdoor zero entry pool, hot tub and fire pit, outdoor recreation including tennis courts, shuffleboard, basketball court and playground, concierge service, children’s activities, and access to our state of the art full service health club including indoor pool, hot tub, steam saunas, strength room, group fitness room, cardio theater, and classes.


MCGI in the News...

The Bangor Daily News published an article about the impact of the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative for Maine patients and oncologists.    This article featured statements by a patient as well MCGI clinicians Christopher Darus, MD, Allan Espinosa, MD and Jens Rueter, MD. 

Jens Rueter, MD spoke about MCGI to the Cancer Care Delivery Committee at the SWOG fall meeting in Chicago on 10/4/2018.

Jens Rueter, MD and Jennifer Bourne, MS presented a poster about MCGI at the Maine Public Health Association’s Fall Conference on 10/16/2018. 



The mission of the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative (MCGI) is to enable widespread access to clinical cancer genomic tests for the Maine oncology community and to increase the understanding of cancer genomics by Maine oncology clinicians.  The MCGI, enabled through the generous financial support from The Harold Alfond® Foundation, leverages the strengths of key medical and bioscience research institutions in Maine to create and alliance focused on precision cancer diagnostics and treatment. 

The MCGI central office team is dedicated to ensuring your practice's engagement and experience with genomic cancer testing. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. Email us at