Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cancer Institute and Illumina, Inc., a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, today announced a collaboration to evaluate the impact of in-house comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) to enhance patient care.
The collaboration will assess the value of in-house testing for both tissue and blood samples, versus sending those samples externally, and whether this approach may benefit cancer patients and the broader healthcare system. The collaboration will also work to identify instances where blood-based testing is most beneficial, depending on cancer stages and types.
The initiative is part of AHN’s plan to help improve the cancer care pathway through its newly established Clinical Genomics Laboratory. Looking at approximately 1,000 samples, the collaboration will compare solid tissue biopsies with less invasive blood samples to see if regular blood testing can provide additional information on the genetic changes within a patient’s cancer which may be relevant to the choice of treatment. If so, less-invasive CGP testing of blood samples could potentially complement tissue sampling, substantially increasing the number of patients able to have their tumors profiled and be included in clinical trials for cancer therapy selection.
“As an organization that treats more than 10,000 cancer patients each year, being at the forefront of cancer genetic profiling is critically important to our mission of helping pioneer the next generation of targeted therapies that will provide more effective treatment for all types of cancers,” said David Bartlett, MD, Chair, AHN Cancer Institute. “We believe our collaboration with Illumina will help bring us closer to that reality.”
“We know that cancer results from a disrupted genome, and knowing the genetic changes in a patient’s cancer increasingly results in personalized, targeted therapy and improved outcomes,” said Phil Febbo, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Illumina. “Partnering with AHN to help them perform testing within their system will further advance their institutional expertise in genomic cancer diagnosis, increase opportunities to match their patients with personalized therapy, and improve patient outcomes.”
The project commenced in 2022 and is slated for one year, with the potential to expand this clinical research in the future. Samples for the study have been collected across AHN Cancer Institute’s 24 affiliated oncology clinics.