Tag Archives: cancer research

Beyond the $1,000 Genome

Captured by Forbes

The cost of mapping an individual human genome may break the $1,000 barrier by the end of the year, thanks to Life Technologies, Jonathan Rothberg and the Ion Proton Sequencer. This achievement, more than a decade in the making, will help to usher in a new era of personalized medicine – an era in which individuals’ genetic information will help guide diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Larger availability of complete genomic data will have a profound near-term impact on cancer research. The ability to rapidly and economically sequence individual patient tumors will help us to better understand the biological mechanisms of cancer and will facilitate data-driven patient stratification. This, in turn, will facilitate more effective clinical trials and speed the development of new therapies.

The significant near-term growth of rich genomic data will impact the patient care side too. Companies like Foundation Medicine use this data to perform molecular analysis of tumors that will assist in pinpointing the optimal treatment strategies for individuals with cancer.

Genomic data alone is not a silver bullet. Rather, it is just one of multitude of data sources that will help us unravel the still largely mysterious workings of the human body and make the leap from genotype to phenotype. The true power of genomic data becomes unlocked when it is integrated with other data types, including other molecular data, imaging and laboratory results, data from apps and mobile devices, and Real World data such as electronic medical records and medical claims. These integrated data sets then need to be paired with analytical methods that can extract actionable knowledge from the data, and do it at scale.

Genomic data is big, but it’s not nearly as big as the data sets that are being routinely analyzed in the context of ecommerce today, data sets like those used by Amazon’s recommendation engine. The infrastructure that will allow us to analyze $1,000 genomes is already in place.

Eric Green, director of the NHGRI, told the Wall Street Journal that “we can sequence the genome for dirt cheap, but we don’t know how to deal with the data.” I disagree – we absolutely know what to do with the data. We now know how to combine genetic data with data from other modalities to discover what works in healthcare and for whom. Scientists, mathematicians, and computer engineers during the last couple of decades have developed new analytic tools that go beyond traditional statistics — tools that can extract knowledge at scale and make novel predictions based on data.

GNS Healthcare is part of a group of stakeholders patiently waiting for the data to become widely available. This group includes industry thought leaders Eric Schadt, Director of the Institute for Genomics and Multi-scale Biology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Stephen Friend of Sage Bionetworks and Daphne Koller of the Stanford AI Lab.

The infrastructure is already in place. The analytical tools have been developed. We are ready to go.

Three Hospitals Partner in Cancer Research

Captured by Indianapolis Star
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Three Indianapolis hospital systems announced today their participation in a ground-breaking national project that could yield countless insights into better ways to prevent, diagnosis and treat cancers. Franciscan St. Francis Health, St. Vincent Health, and Community Health Network are among 14 sites across the country collecting tissue samples from cancer patients for The Cancer Genome Atlas project. Researchers will then analyze each cancer’s genetic information and make the data available online for any scientist in an attempt to learn the disease’s secrets to success. Over the next five years, the $275 million project aims to collect samples from more than 10,000 patients. Scientists at Phoenix’s International Genomics Consortium will sequence the genomic information from 500 tumors for each of the 20 most common cancers.

Click here to read the complete story.

GE Healthcare to Invest $1B in Cancer R&D Including Biomarker Development

Capture by GenomeWeb 

GE Healthcare today announced plans to dedicate $1 billion in research and development spending over the next five years to expand its cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, technologies for manufacturing biopharmaceuticals, and cancer research.

In line with those plans, its Clarient business is furthering development of a biomarker to identify patients who do not respond to taxane therapies for certain cancers. GE purchased Clarient last year for around $580 million with an eye toward combining Clarient’s biomarker efforts with its existing imaging capabilities.

“[W]ith a disease as complex and multifaceted as cancer, solutions need to be equally multifaceted and even more integrated, combining imaging, molecular diagnostics, and healthcare IT,” GE Healthcare President and CEO John Dineen said in a statement.

GE also announced a $100 million open innovation challenge “to find and fund ideas to accelerate detection of breast cancer and enable more personalized treatment.” The new investments, it said, will “focus on developing new oncology solutions and build on advanced technologies and research already in progress.”

One area of research focuses on a new biomarker, TLE3, which is being developed to help clinicians exclude patients least likely to benefit from taxane therapy. The biomarker is being developed by GE Clarient for breast cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer.

In addition to improving patient outcomes, the work could save the healthcare system millions of dollars each year, GE said, adding it hopes to have a test based on the biomarker launched in 2013.

GE also plans to invest in molecular pathology for the development of cancer diagnostic technologies for “a clearer picture of pathways driving specific tumors,” as well as research that advances understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer.

Johns Hopkins Lands $30M for Personalized Cancer Center

Captured by GenomeWeb

The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center will use a $30 million donation from the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research to fund a new center that will focus on genomics and personalized cancer medicine research.

Johns Hopkins will use the funding from the Richmond, Va.-based foundation to support the Center for Personalized Cancer Medicine, which initially will undertake three pilot projects focused on DNA mutations inside cells and epigenetic alterations.

The researchers at the new center, which began operations last month, will study genomic and epigenomic factors that affect leukemia and lung cancer patients’ responses to treatment and develop tests for early detection of various types of cancer. The long-term aim will be for these genetic discoveries to inform the development of individualized immunotherapies such as cancer vaccines and pharmacogenomics-based treatment tools.

The Commonwealth Foundation also supports research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Virginia Cancer Center, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center.