GNS and the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center began their collaboration as a result of a connection made last year between two University of Connecticut alumni from different generations, Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the 1970s, and Tom Neyarapally, a graduate of the School of Engineering in the 1990s. Dr. Runowicz, who served as President of the American Cancer Society from 2005-2006 and is currently Director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Tom Neyarapally identified ovarian cancer as an initial area of focus.
Dr. Runowicz and Tom Neyarapally are also, together with colleagues Drs. Molly Brewer and Iya Khalil, preparing a scientific publication regarding ovarian cancer treatment and the use of computational modelling capabilities such as GNS's supercomputing-driven REFS platform to improve treatments and outcomes. The parties are also in the process of assembling a consortium in ovarian cancer with additional cancer centres that have yet to be named.
"With ever-increasing quantities of molecular and genetic data from cancer patients becoming available, we as clinicians are in great need of capabilities to optimally and rapidly utilize this information", stated Dr. Runowicz. "We are excited to link up with GNS, which has created a unique supercomputer-driven technology platform to turn this information directly into simulation models, and ultimately better treatments, for cancer patients."
The parties will utilize the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center's clinical expertise to assess and validate findings from the ovarian cancer model simulations and will work with strategic partners to make drugs and diagnostics created based on these discoveries available to patients. They are also currently in discussions regarding the application of the REFS platform in other cancers such as prostate cancer.
"GNS is looking forward to working with the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center's extremely talented cancer researchers to rapidly convert data into actionable computer models of different cancers and clinical insights", stated Tom Neyarapally, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at GNS. "We feel privileged to be working closely with Dr. Runowicz, an established leader in the fight against cancer."
The University of Connecticut Health Center includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Founded in 1961, the Health Center pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service.
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. More company news can be found in the VMW June 2009 article Gene Network Sciences announces broad cancer collaboration with UCSF and initial results.