Life Technologies announces Genomic Cancer Care Alliance

Alliance being formed to study whole-genome sequencing in cancer treatment

Jeffrey Bouley
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CARLSBAD, Calif.—Life Technologies Corp. announced June 3 the creation of the Genomic Cancer Care Alliance, which is intended to help people who are battling cancer gain access to treatment options that have been discovered through analysis of their genomic information.

The other founding partners include Fox Chase Cancer Center, Scripps Genomic Medicine, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). The announcement came during the Consumer Genetics Conference held June 2-4 in Boston.

The Alliance will launch a pilot study aimed at determining whether whole-genome sequencing can better guide treatment decisions across a number of difficult-to-treat cancers. US Oncology Inc., a leading integrated oncology company, is expected to serve as the contract research and site management organization for the study.

The study builds upon a research trial announced earlier this year by Life Technologies, TGen and US Oncology to sequence the genomes of 14 patients diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer whose tumors have progressed despite multiple other therapies. In contrast to the breast cancer trial, this new study under the umbrella of the Genomic Cancer Care Alliance is said to be the first "to evaluate the use of whole-genome sequencing information in guiding treatment decisions across a wide range of cancer types."

"This is a groundbreaking initiative for oncologists and their patients that should demonstrate how whole-genome sequencing with analytics and counseling can identify a treatment plan customized specifically for each seriously ill patient," says Dr. Paul Billings, the Alliance's chief medical officer, who currently serves as director and chief scientific officer of the Genomic Medicine Institute at El Camino Hospital. "There is an urgent need to define and validate a complete medical workflow for genomic-based cancer care."

The Alliance expects the study to begin enrolling patients late this year. Protocols for the study are currently being developed and will most likely focus on advanced cancer patients who have failed initial rounds of therapy.

"Life Technologies is proud to be leading this initiative with a number of dedicated institutions who are committed to and believe in the clinical utility of cancer sequencing," says Gregory T. Lucier, chairman and chief executive officer of Life Technologies. "We strongly believe that genome sequencing will allow physicians to treat their patients not just based on the type of cancer they have, but on the biological pathways that led to mutations, which ultimately resulted in the development of cancer. We look forward to exploring how sequencing can provide the medical community with more specific, accurate data that can help guide cancer treatment options."

As currently envisioned, patients enrolled in the study will have both tumor and normal tissue sequenced by TGen, Scripps, and other organizations, using Life Technologies' Applied Biosystems SOLiD System to identify mutations.

The results will be validated by a CLIA-certified lab and interpreted by TGen and Omicia Inc., a personalized medicine company focused on interpreting genome sequences for clinical applications. A centralized tumor board for the study, composed of physicians from Fox Chase Cancer Center, TGen, Scripps and El Camino Hospital's Genomic Medicine Institute, will study the results and consult with patients' oncologists regarding how to use the test results to develop personalized care plans.

Life Technologies is the primary financial sponsor of the study and has said that it "welcomes additional sponsors to join the initiative, enabling growth of the study to enroll more patients."

Jeffrey Bouley

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