CARLSBAD, Calif., March 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- At risk cancer patients across Canada may now be able to have their tumors molecularly profiled using next-generation sequencing (NGS) as part of a national effort to expedite enrollments in clinical trials. Led by Exactis Innovation, a non-profit organization focused on accelerating precision cancer research and access to targeted therapies, the program's NGS-based studies will be standardized on Thermo Fisher Scientific's Oncomine assays and Ion GeneStudio S5 Series systems.
To support the studies, Exactis Innovation expects to receive up to 2,000 samples annually through its Personalize My Treatment (PMT) program, whereby consenting participants allow access to their clinical data, as well as tumor and blood samples through its network of 12 academic cancer centers throughout Canada. Five clinical NGS hubs, located in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Alberta, will perform the sequencing studies and collect data derived from solid tumors, liquid biopsies, and immuno-oncology analyses.
"Standardizing and harmonizing protocols within the network is critical to effectively and efficiently profile patient tumors to match them with the right clinical trial. The Ion GeneStudio S5 platform supports those goals," said Dajan O'Donnell, chief scientific officer for Exactis Innovation. "Equally important is our need to remain flexible in our profiling approaches and to stay on the cutting edge, which the extensive menu of Oncomine assays enables us to do. We have chosen to partner with Thermo Fisher because of their innovative platforms and proven background in enabling national precision medicine programs like NCI-MATCH with demonstrated concordance across multiple sequencing centers."
Exactis Innovation will complement its solid tumor NGS capabilities with Thermo Fisher's Oncomine Pan-Cancer Cell-Free, Oncomine Tumor Mutation Load, and Oncomine Immune Response Research assays to drive more comprehensive analyses of samples in support of drug development programs. The ability to offer such a broad arsenal of NGS-based tools is expected to also help Exactis Innovation expand its academic cancer center network and further entrench its position as a longitudinal, biopsy-led registry for matching patients.
"Our ability to look at immune genes, for example, is an attractor for some of the translational science that can be brought into the network and maintain interest with key immuno-oncology players who are already part of it," said Richard Fajzel, chief executive officer of Exactis Innovation. "These areas are quickly gaining traction with clinical researchers and pharma companies in particular who believe they will accelerate trial enrollments and success rates. This is why we feel our collaboration with Thermo Fisher is pivotal to Exactis' success."
Thermo Fisher's NGS systems and Oncomine assays continue to serve as foundational platforms for several national studies focused on advancing precision medicine initiatives. In 2014, it collaborated with Saudi Arabia to launch the Saudi Human Genome Program, before announcing that a standardized NGS protocol on the company's NGS and Oncomine technology would be implemented at five independent sites to analyze tumor samples for the NCI-MATCH adult and pediatric trials.
Most recently, the company's Oncomine assays and sequencers, which are designed for versatility and able to accommodate multiple runs per day with very low sample requirements, have been instrumental in driving LC-SCRUM Japan, a national genomic screening program designed to establish precision medicine in that country.
"As we have seen with other national programs enabled by Thermo Fisher's NGS technology, standardizing on a common platform provides clear benefits to large-scale studies," said Joydeep Goswami, president, Clinical Next Generation Sequencing and Oncology for Thermo Fisher Scientific. "The ability to consistently generate high-quality genomic data from very limited patient samples is foundational to successful trials. We are pleased that Exactis Innovation has chosen our platforms for its important endeavor across Canada and applaud their approach to comprehensively profile tumors with solid tumor, liquid biopsy and immune profiling."
About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of more than $20 billion and approximately 70,000 employees globally. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics, deliver medicines to market and increase laboratory productivity. Through our premier brands—Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, and Unity Lab Services—we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive services. For more information, please visit www.thermofisher.com.
About Exactis Innovation
Exactis Innovation (Exactis) is a Canadian, not-for-profit organization created in 2014 with funds from a public/private sector collaboration, including the Canadian Government Business-Led Networks of Centers of Excellence, and several pharmaceutical, biotech, not-for-profit and research organizations. Exactis is building an integrated, agile research network to improve cancer care for Canadians by addressing the challenge of recruiting and matching cancer patients to clinical studies for targeted therapies that could benefit them. At the heart of the network is a first-of-its-kind patient registry—Personalize My Treatment (PMT)—where patients are recruited by their cancer care institution and agree to have detailed molecular data about their cancer stored in a digital bio-bank and also agree to be contacted if they are considered suitable for future clinical studies that match their cancer characteristics. For more information, please visit www.exactis.ca