Gene Network Sciences announces brain cancer collaboration with M.D. Anderson

Cambrdige 14 April 2009Gene Network Sciences Inc. (GNS) has entered into a research collaboration with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center aimed at the rapid translation of DNA sequence and clinical data from patients with glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, into breakthrough discoveries leading to drugs and diagnostics. This collaboration will leverage the combination of groundbreaking genetic data and clinical oncology expertise from M.D. Anderson with supercomputers and advanced machine-learning software from GNS. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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The rich glioblastoma dataset produced by M.D. Anderson researchers, which includes genetic, genomic, and clinical endpoint data (3D Data), will be analysed using GNS's supercomputer-driven Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation (REFS) software platform. These analyses are expected to generate models that enable the discovery of key genes, proteins and other molecular entities that together, as a network, causally drive glioblastoma disease progression, disease recurrence, and survival. The results from these projects will include the identification of new combination drug targets for disease and the development of diagnostics to determine appropriate individual patient treatments.

"There continues to be an urgent need for a more efficient translation of research into improved treatments for glioblastoma patients", stated Dr. Kenneth Aldape, who led the M.D. Anderson glioblastoma research team that conducted the research that produced the data. "With its computational expertise and commercially tested REFS platform, GNS is well positioned to work with us to achieve the desired acceleration in the development of sorely needed effective treatments and diagnostics for this deadly disease."

The parties plan to transform this coherent clinical 3D Data into computer models which link genetic alterations to changes in gene expression to progression-free patient survival times. This computer model, developed by using the REFS platform, is expected to unravel the complex genetic circuitry underlying glioblastoma and reveal novel drug targets and markers of response. These targets and markers may be used to identify the optimal single or combination drug therapy for a given patient's genetic alteration profile. The parties will utilize M.D. Anderson's clinical expertise to validate the discoveries and will work with strategic partners to make drugs and diagnostics stemming from these discoveries available to patients.

"GNS is excited to be working with one of the world's foremost research and clinical care institutions to rapidly translate lab bench research into bedside results", stated Colin Hill, CEO of GNS. "Our collaborative work with M.D. Anderson is one of the first examples of applying next-generation machine-learning software and supercomputers to begin to realize the promise of personalized medicine."

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centres focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M.D. Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centres designated by the National Cancer Institute. For four of the past six years, including 2008, M.D. Anderson has ranked no. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals", a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report.

Gene Network Sciences is an expert in biosimulation with its ability to derive molecular mechanisms of drugs and diseases directly from molecular profiling and clinical data. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Ithaca, New York, GNS uses its REFS technology in pharmaceutical and clinical settings to rapidly turn combinations of genetic, genomic, and clinical measurements into models of disease progression and drug response. These models are then simulated to discover both new targets for drug intervention and genetic markers of drug response that allow patients who will respond to a given drug treatment to be matched to a particular clinical trial. By discovering how and why specific sets of genes and drug candidates impact human biology, GNS technology enables the rapid development of breakthrough drug and diagnostic products.


Source: Gene Network Sciences

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