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Foundation Medicine, Sarah Cannon Partner on Cancer Trials

Chemotherapy vials

(National Cancer Institute)

31 October 2016. Foundation Medicine, a cancer diagnostics company, and Sarah Cannon Research Institute plan to apply genomic testing of patients’ tumors in clinical trials of personalized treatments. Financial aspects of the agreement between Foundation Medicine, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. and Sarah Cannon, in Nashville, were not disclosed.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute is the research division of Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, itself a part of Hospital Corporation of America. The institute conducts some 500 clinical trials per year of cancer therapies and diagnostics. Foundation Medicine is an academic spin-off enterprise, founded by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and MIT, offering genomic analysis tools for personalized cancer diagnosis and treatments.

Foundation Medicine’s technology examines and reveals genes altered in human cancers, and offers potential targets for therapies. The results, says the company, make it possible to align existing personalized treatments for the patient’s cancer, or to identify clinical trials with experimental therapies. Foundation says a key market for its services are medical centers holding clinical trials where cancer patients are screened for best molecular matches with experimental therapies.

Sarah Cannon plans to apply a number of Foundation services to its clinical trials. FoundationOne will be use to provide comprehensive genomic profiles of solid tumors. The service analyzes 315 cancer-related genes and targeted non-coding RNA segments known as introns associated with solid tumors. Reports from FoundationOne highlight relevant genomic modifications and therapies targeting those alterations.

The institute expects to use FoundationOne Heme to produce similar profiles for blood-related cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. The service applies high-throughput DNA sequencing to 405 cancer-related genes and RNA sequencing of 265 genes to highlight gene fusions, a type of genetic alteration that transfers DNA between chromosomes, associated with blood-related and soft-tissue cancers.

Sarah Cannon plans as well to employ FoundationACT as a liquid biopsy. FoundationACT tests blood samples for 62 cancer-related genes found in circulating tumor DNA that breaks away from the main tumor and flows through the blood stream. Foundation Medicine and Sarah Cannon will also collaborate on research evaluating the company’s cancer diagnostics for optimum use in clinical trials.

In addition, Sarah Cannon Research Institute systems will integrate data from Foundation Medicine’s Interactive Cancer Explorer database that the company says is designed to aid physicians make decisions about personalized treatments for cancer patients. The company will also help train nurses at Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in personalized medicine.

As reported by Science & Enterprise, the pharmaceutical company Roche took a majority equity stake in Foundation Medicine in January 2015. The investment, licensing, and collaboration deal is expected to earn Foundation as much as $1 billion.

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