Collaborators Work to Develop New Sequencing Methods to Manage Cancers

Collaborators Work to Develop New Sequencing Methods to Manage Cancers
The nonprofit organization Genome Canada, the pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher Scientific and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) are collaborating to develop new targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) methods to assess, and possibly improve, the management of pancreatic, prostate, and breast cancer. The three-year, $6 million project aims to standardize the use of advanced molecular biology techniques for genetic profiling in cancer, so that they become commercially available on a global scale to diagnose and treat patients. NGS is a powerful DNA sequencing method that can analyze the entire human genome (all genes present in our DNA) in just one day. The approach may be particularly helpful for advanced cancer patients, as those whose treatment was selected based on NGS findings lived twice as long without their disease worsening compared to patients who did not receive genetic testing, with no added health care costs. The partnership, which will focus on the development of genome-based diagnostic tools for pancreatic cancer and targeted therapies for breast and prostate cancer, is based on prior research carried out by OICR and Thermo Fisher. The three assays developed in the project will be put to use in patients participating in clinical trials in Ontario and other parts of Canada. "By supporting research and clinical trials, Genome Canada is helping to put more of Ontario's innovative cancer diagnostics research into clinical use," John Bartlett, program director of diagnostic development at OICR, said in a press release. "This project has the potential to springboard advanced next generation sequencing to routine clinical use in Ontario and across Canada." Unlike other types of assays that only analyze DNA sequences, these
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