Organizations hope gene mutation data will help guide targeted treatment decisions.

Life Technologies, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and US Oncology are teaming up on a breast cancer sequencing initiative. They hope that the results will help guide decisions about which form of targeted cancer therapy is best for individual patients.

The partners aim to sequence the genomes of 14 triple-negative breast cancer patients with tumors that have progressed despite multiple therapies. Triple-negative tumors make up nearly 20% of breast cancers and do not respond to common targeted therapies such as Herceptin, the partners claim.

The project will use the SOLiD system to carry out the sequencing, backed by US Oncology’s clinical trials expertise and TGen’s Cancer Genome and Oncology programs. US Oncology will help enroll patients into the study to have both tumor and healthy tissue sequenced. Scientists at TGen and Life Technologies will collaborate on the development of new informatics software that could be used with whole genome sequencing results. 

“Current clinical trials are aimed at showing how one new drug can be safe and effective across hundreds of people,” points out Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., physician-in-chief and senior investigator for TGen and CSO for US Oncology. “This study flips the concept by using sequencing data from one individual to evaluate which anticancer drugs could be most effective based on normal and tumor genetic makeup.”

The breast cancer partnership comes just a few days after researchers in the U.K. and Denmark published a study describing the use of a bespoke RNAi method to pinpoint specific genes that can help determine the likelihood of a triple-negative breast cancer patient responding to paclitaxel therapy.

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