Navigation Links
New service brings power of genomics to patient care
Date:11/22/2011

Physicians can now take advantage of a new genetics test -- one of the first of its kind to be offered in the United States -- that can help determine the best treatment for cancer patients.

Genomics and Pathology Services at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (GPS@WUSTL) is now offering a test for mutations in 28 genes associated with cancer. The genes in the test affect a variety of different types of tumors, including blood, lymph, lung, brain, bladder, kidney, skin, stomach, prostate and breast cancers.

Identifying specific mutations in these genes can help doctors decide which treatments are most likely to benefit individual patients, which is the goal of genomic (or personalized) medicine.

All of these genes already can be tested individually for mutations. But using GPS@WUSTL, physicians throughout the country can order the new test to simultaneously examine the genes most likely to influence treatment of a patient's tumor.

According to GPS@WUSTL organizers, sequencing multiple genes at once is less expensive than sequencing the genes separately. The next-generation sequencing technique and the novel bioinformatics platform used to produce the data also will significantly improve the sensitivity and accuracy of the results.

Scientists envision the cancer genetics test as the first of many disease panels to be offered by GPS@WUSTL. Work is under way on similar panels that will influence the diagnosis and treatment of other disorders, including autism and kidney disease.

"GPS@WUSTL is bringing the promise of human genomics to the clinic," says Karen Seibert, PhD, director of GPS@WUSTL. "We use the latest gene sequencing technology and cross-reference the results to known treatment options for the patient's particular mutations. In addition to patient care, our labs will support clinical trials aimed at identifying new ways to diagnose and treat disease."

While costs for sequencing a patient's entire genome are decreasing, it's still not economically feasible to perform whole-genome sequencing for clinical treatment of patients. Sequencing of multiple genes known to influence a disease will produce the information physicians need to guide treatment decisions.

The services provided by GPS@WUSTL will be paid for by a mixture of revenue streams, including health-care insurers, hospitals, patients and federal research grants, and through partnerships with companies and foundations.

"Patients throughout the country can access GPS@WUSTL through their personal physician," says John Pfeifer, MD, PhD, vice chairman for clinical affairs in pathology and immunology. "After we receive a patient's tumor sample, results will be returned in days to weeks in a report identifying the mutations detected. We will also provide the names of specific drugs that target the mutations' effects as identified in peer-reviewed medical literature."

GPS@WUSTL administrators chose the 28 genes in the first test because all have implications for cancer therapy. The test can easily be adapted to add newly discovered mutations as they are clinically validated.

To describe how multiple genes can affect treatment, GPS@WUSTL Medical Director Shashi Kulkarni, PhD, cites acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer.

"In AML, patients who have a mutation in a gene called FLT3 can be treated with a drug that suppresses the mutation's effects, improving chances for recovery," Kulkarni says. "Mutations in another gene, DNMT3A, suggest a poor prognosis and call for initial treatment with a bone marrow transplant, a riskier therapy normally reserved for patients whose AML recurs after chemotherapy."

As another example, some lung cancers harbor a mutation in a gene called EGFR. These tumors can be killed much more effectively by specific chemotherapy drugs, so knowledge of the EGFR status helps oncologists choose the best treatment regimen.

The sensitivity of the new sequencing techniques used by GPS@WUSTL will be important for cancers, many of which are genetically unstable, notes Jeffrey Milbrandt, MD, PhD, the James S. McDonnell Professor and head of the Department of Genetics. This instability results in tumors that contain cells that are genetically different.

"It's possible that an important mutation that makes the tumor harder to kill will be present only in a small percentage of tumor cells," he says. "The new sequencing technology we're using substantially increases our chances of detecting such critical mutations."

GPS@WUSTL faculty and technicians will work in laboratories designed and maintained to meet rigorous clinical testing standards.

"All of our labs will meet the requirements of both the College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) certification," says Herbert W. Virgin IV, MD, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Pathology and Immunology. "Those are the gold standards of laboratory testing, and GPS@WUSTL will be among a group of relatively uncommon genetic testing services in the nation to have both of them."

Washington University's new Genome Technology Access Center (GTAC) provides the genetic data interpreted by GPS@WUSTL. Bioinformatics experts in GPS@WUSTL have built a clinical genomicist workstation that can automatically insert references to medical literature that can help doctors assess the treatment options.

"Having the system automatically start the interpretive work will help loosen a major bottleneck that has made it difficult to provide physicians with results of genomic tests in a timely fashion," says GPS@WUSTL Bioinformatics Director Rakesh Nagarajan, MD, PhD.


'/>"/>
Contact: Joni Westerhouse
westerhousej@wustl.edu
314-286-0120
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Surging Demand for Innovation Services Leads to Record Expansion for NineSigma
2. Forest Service part of team sequencing 1,000 fungal genomes
3. How should society pay for services ecosystems provide?
4. Biophysical Society names 2012 Distinguished Service and Emily Gray awardees
5. US Forest Service study finds hemlock still abundant despite adelgid infestation
6. Enhanced Santrax Electronic Visit Verification Functionality for Consumer Directed Services Programs
7. American Well and Numera Join Forces to Integrate Home Monitoring and Telehealth Services
8. ONR award ceremony recognizes achievements and service of 4 Navy employees
9. Service projects increase learning, social impact for undergrads
10. Pollination services at risk following declines of Swedish bumblebees
11. TGen Drug Development partners with Imaging Endpoints for comprehensive clinical trial services
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/18/2016)... JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... security software that simplifies the use and access ... technology and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... Cyber brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and ... implementing and integrating the latest proven technology solutions," ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... ALBANY, New York , January 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transparency Market Research has published a new market report ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2023. According to ... mn in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$1,625.8 ... from 2015 to 2023. In terms of volume, the ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... , Jan. 11, 2016 Synaptics Incorporated ... interface solutions, today announced that its ClearPad ® ... (TDDI) products won two separate categories in the 8 ... Innovator and Best Technology Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® ... a simplified supply chain, thinner devices, brighter displays and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  PTC Therapeutics, Inc. ... annual STRIVE (Strategies to Realize Innovation, Vision and ... (DMD). STRIVE provides funds to patient advocacy organizations ... make meaningful contributions to the rare disease community ... of future patient advocates. Mary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... NBIX ) today announced its financial results for the quarter ... --> For the fourth quarter of 2015, the ... per share, compared to a net loss of $19.4 million, or ... the year ended December 31, 2015, the Company reported a net ... to a net loss of $60.5 million, or $0.81 loss per ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Bioethics International, a not-for-profit organization ... researched, developed, marketed and made accessible to patients around the ... had named the publication of the Good Pharma ... publication is also featured as one of BMJ Open ... last year that are most frequently read. Ed ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, ... ... business-to-business publication dedicated to delivering cutting-edge information focused on the development and ... Sciences to become a premier sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards ...
Breaking Biology Technology: