Illumina has joined the Canadian consortium behind an initiative to change clinical practice by allowing medication selection on the basis of an individual’s genetic tumor profile.

Illumina’s genomics technology will be used to sequence the DNA collected by The National Access Project for Cancer Testing. Launched last year, the initiative aims to make genomics testing a standard practice in cancer care, with the goals of improving precision in cancer diagnosis, enabling individualized treatment based on the genes contributing to the cancer, and supporting better health outcomes.

The National Access Project provides a free 90-mutation cancer genomics test for 2,000 cancer patients at 10 sites across Canada. Each identified mutation is actionable with current medications or Phase III investigational treatments. As part of the program, real-time reports will be made available enabling patients and oncologists to make informed treatment decisions early.

The Project’s first phase, now underway, is retrospectively mapping tumors to identify the mutations for approximately 500 patients. The results of the genetic mapping and corresponding therapies will be shared with oncologists. The initiative’s second phase will broaden the patient base to approximately 1,500 patients across Canada, to prospectively evaluate and match specific tumor types with approximately 40 therapy options.

Illumina is joining three biopharma giants—AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sanofi—in providing funding and technical assistance for the initiative.

The National Access Project is managed by the Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI), an organization formed to bring personalized, molecularly-based medicine to Canadians, with the aim of improving healthcare outcomes and efficiency as well as enabling more effective preventive health care. PMI represents stakeholders in British Columbia and the rest of Canada.

The Project’s testing is provided by Contextual Genomics, a developer of genomics-based cancer tests. The company’s first products are actionable molecular tests designed to unify multiple companion diagnostics for multiple medicines into a single test that guides cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“Our goal to deliver standardized clinical cancer testing is made possible through the technology developed by Illumina,” Chris Wagner, president and CEO of Contextual Genomics, said in a statement. “Illumina has played a key role in the major breakthroughs made in genome sequencing over the past decade and we are very pleased to have Illumina as part of our National Access Project consortium.”

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