CHICAGO—The 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology served as the venue for the announcement that as many as 1,000 patients across the United States will be enrolled in a new national oncology clinical trial using genetic sequence information obtained from Thermo Fisher Scientific’s targeted, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. That trial is the National Cancer Institute-Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) program.
The NCI-MATCH trial will be open to the National Cancer Institute-supported National Clinical Trial Network, which boasts more than 2,400 regional facilities across the country. Supporting this study, as many as 3,000 tumor samples will be sequenced at the NCI Molecular Characterization Laboratory in Frederick, Md., as well as at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Yale University. Each will use a standardized NGS protocol developed using Thermo Fisher’s Oncomine reagents and the Ion Torrent sequencing system.
This targeted sequencing approach, which is differentiated by its very low sample (DNA and RNA) requirement and faster turnaround time on the Ion Torrent platform, reportedly enables accurate and reliable sequence analysis across a large range of tumor sample types, including small biopsies and fine-needle aspirates.
“Clinical trials of this size and type must rely on technology that can accurately detect a wide range of infrequent gene alterations with a single assay of small amounts of DNA and cDNA from a formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy specimen or fine-needle aspiration specimen,” said ECOG-ACRIN laboratory lead Dr. Stanley R. Hamilton, head of pathology and laboratory medicine at MD Anderson. “Meeting these requirements was a key deciding factor for choosing this platform after we completed our evaluation process. These same assay requirements will often apply to enabling precision medicine.”
“A study of this scale would not be feasible using the traditional one-sample, one-biomarker testing approach,” said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and president of Life Sciences Solutions at Thermo Fisher. “And it is the first nationwide oncology trial of its kind that will be conducted in the spirit of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which has the potential to transform the future of cancer care.”