Initiative aims to evaluate whether sequencing can help improve treatment decisions for individuals.

Life Technologies is heading up a new initiative aimed at determining whether whole-genome sequencing can help guide treatment decisions for a range of difficult-to-treat cancers. The Genomic Cancer Care Alliance is being established in collaboration with the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Scripps Genomic Medicine, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute. US Oncology is expected to serve as the contract-research and site-management organization for the study.

The Alliance’s initial pilot study is expected to start enrolling patients during late 2010, and protocols are currently being drafted. Life Technologies says it will most likely focus on advanced cancer patients who have failed initial rounds of therapy. Enrolled patients will have both tumor and normal tissue sequenced to identify mutations. The data will be validated by a CLIA-certified lab and interpreted by TGen and personalized medicines company Omicia.

“We strongly believe that genome sequencing will allow physicians to treat their patients not just based on the type of cancer they have but on the biological pathways that led to mutations, which ultimately resulted in the development of cancer,” comments Gregory T. Lucier, Life’s chairman and CEO. “We look forward to exploring how sequencing can provide the medical community with more specific, accurate data that can help guide cancer treatment options.”

The new initiative builds on a research trial announced in May through which Life Technologies, TGen, and US Oncology aim to sequence the genomes of 14 patients with triple-negative breast cancer whose tumors have progressed despite multiple therapies. In contrast, the Genomic Cancer Care Alliance will broaden the scope of such studies to a wide range of cancer types.

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