Life Technologies, TGen and US Oncology partner on groundbreaking breast cancer sequencing research

Carlsbad, Phoenix, The Woodlands 05 March 2010Life Technologies Corporation 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 tumours 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.

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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 programmes, to provide additional information for oncologists and their patients. Triple negative tumours, 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", stated 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 tumour genetic make-up. 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 tumour 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", stated 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 Programme 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", stated 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 tumour 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.

Life Technologies Corporation is a global biotechnology tools company dedicated to improving the human condition. Its systems, consumables and services enable researchers to accelerate scientific exploration, driving to discoveries and developments that make life even better. Life Technologies customers do their work across the biological spectrum, working to advance personalized medicine, regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research, and 21st century forensics. Life Technologies had sales of $3,3 billion in 2009, employs approximately 9000 people, has a presence in approximately 160 countries, and possesses a rapidly growing intellectual property estate of approximately 3900 patents and exclusive licenses. Life Technologies was created by the combination of Invitrogen Corporation and Applied Biosystems Inc., and manufactures both in-vitro diagnostic products and research use only-labeled products.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organisation dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. More news on TGen can be found in the VMW March 2010 article TGen and Geisinger Health System announce strategic partnership.

US Oncology Inc., is an oncology services company uniting the United States' largest cancer treatment and research network to expand patient access to high-quality, cost-effective cancer care and advance the science of cancer care. Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, US Oncology enhances patient access to advanced cancer care by providing a broad range of solutions to community oncologists, patients, payers, and the medical industry across all phases of the cancer care research and delivery system. US Oncology deploys innovation, technology, research and the use of evidence-based medicine and shared best practices to improve patient outcomes and offer a better patient experience.

US Oncology conducts clinical research through US Oncology Research Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary, and enables the United States' largest community-based research network with experienced investigators and dedicated research nurses specializing in Phase I-IV oncology clinical trials in the United States. US Oncology Research serves more than 80 sites in 200 locations managing more than 90 open trials at any given time. The research network has accrued more than 38.500 patients through more than 680 trials since its inception and has contributed to the development of 39 cancer therapies approved by the FDA. More news on US Oncology can be found in the VMW July 2009 article US Oncology Inc. turns to Oracle to improve patient care with electronic health records system.


Source: The Translational Genomics Research Institute

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