News Feature | May 20, 2014

IU And Paradigm Partner On Breast Cancer Genomic Sequencing

By Estel Grace Masangkay

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Indiana University cancer researchers are investigating whether therapy with integrated advanced genomic technology will help shape better outcomes than current therapies for triple negative breast cancer.

Researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, led by Milan Radovich, assistant professor of surgery and of medical and molecular genetics and by Bryan Schneider, associate professor of medicine, are conducting a clinical trial with patients who have received chemotherapy and surgery but who remain at high risk for relapse. “In this group, we will use our understanding of genomics to identify the gas pedal for each woman's specific cancer and see if we can find a drug that will block the gas pedal in a way that is better than non-specific chemotherapies,” Professor Radovich said.

The trial will enroll 130 women with half to receive standard of care. Treatment for the other half will be guided by genomic sequencing.

With the help of non-profit sequencing and molecular information company Paradigm, the researchers will analyze the RNA and DNA from tumors which survived standard chemotherapy. Data from the sequencing will then be used to choose a drug that best suits a patient’s specific form of tumor to direct individual therapy, in contrast with the generalized approach commonly used in cancer treatment.

Paradigm CEO Robert Penny said, “This trial is one of only a handful in the world that tests, through a controlled scientific study, whether the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to identify specific disease drivers — and the selection of treatments for women based on those genetic markers — actually improves survival rates for women.” Penny said the approach is a differentiator in advancing patient care.

Findings from the trial may be used to investigate potential treatments for other cancers. The trial is managed by the Hoosier Cancer Research Network.

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