Genomic sequencing of difficult breast cancers

Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) announced that it is collaborating with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and US Oncology to sequence the genomes of 14 patients afflicted with triple negative breast cancer whose tumors have progressed despite multiple other therapies.

The goal of this first-of-its-kind research collaboration is to demonstrate whether genomic sequencing of cancer tissue can provide clues for treatment strategies for these individuals.

While genomic sequencing has made great strides in helping researchers understand human disease, its clinical utility is not fully known. This research study brings together the accuracy of the Applied Biosystems SOLiD? System, with US Oncology’s expertise in cancer trials and TGen’s Cancer Genome and Oncology programs, to provide additional information for oncologists and their patients. Triple negative tumors, which make up nearly 20 percent of breast cancers, do not respond to treatment with common targeted breast cancer therapies such as Herceptin.

“This study could provide insight into how cancers can be potentially treated in the future,” said Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., Physician-in-Chief, Senior Investigator for TGen and Chief Scientific Officer for US Oncology & Scottsdale Healthcare’s Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center. “Current clinical trials are aimed at showing how one new drug can be safe and effective across hundreds of people. This study flips that concept by using sequencing data from one individual to evaluate which anti-cancer drugs could be most effective based on normal and tumor genetic makeup. This is truly the definition of genomic medicine.”

Cancer is caused by mutations across the genome that affect genes coding for proteins involved in cellular processes. Understanding these mutations and their impact on biological pathways and processes becomes critical in the selection of treatment when cancers are not responsive to conventional anti-cancer therapies.

In this collaboration, US Oncology will help enroll patients in the study to have both tumor and healthy tissue sequenced using the SOLiD system to identify mutations, which will be validated by CLIA-certified Caris Life Sciences. Scientists and oncologists will then leverage this information to more intelligently evaluate potential therapies that target the affected pathways responsible for the cancer.

“Metastatic triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive cancer for which few effective therapies exist,” says Joyce O’Shaughnessy, M.D., Co-Chair of the US Oncology Breast Cancer Research Committee, Associate Director for US Oncology clinical research and Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Baylor-Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and Texas Oncology, a US Oncology affiliate in Dallas, Texas. “US Oncology has conducted a number of clinical trials aimed at advancing the biologic understanding and therapeutic efficacy for these patients, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to fully sequence patients’ triple negative breast cancers towards these ends.”

Additionally, scientists from TGen and Life Technologies will collaborate in the development of novel computational and informatics software paving the way for the use of whole genomic sequencing data for querying, identifying and interpreting mutations to provide for more effective therapeutic decisions. These capabilities will potentially have a significant impact on the treatment of cancer and other complex diseases for which numerous targeted therapeutic choices are available.

“Life Technologies’ highly accurate SOLiD system is the appropriate tool to carry out this type of study,” said Mark Stevenson, President and Chief Operating Officer for Life Technologies. “With an accuracy greater than 99.94 percent, we will be confident that any differences between the tumor DNA and DNA from healthy tissue will be the result of mutations as opposed to errors introduced in the sequencing itself. Life Technologies is proud to be part of such groundbreaking research, which is paving the way for a new paradigm in cancer treatment.”

The SOLiD System is used globally in experiments to better understand the genetic nature of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Its throughput, accuracy, speed and flexibility allow researchers to generate the high quality data needed for the advancement of molecular medicine.

Source: The Translational Genomics Research Institute, USA



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