doctor conducts geriatric assessment with older cancer patient.
Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images

Illumina and Western Pennsylvania integrated health system Allegheny Health Network (AHN) have initiated a collaboration to assess how in-house comprehensive genomic profiling will affect cancer treatment and patient outcomes compared with sending samples to an external lab. As part of the collaboration, the two also will seek to find those instances where blood-based testing (liquid biopsies) is most effective, based on a patient’s cancer stage and type of cancer.

“We know that cancer results from a disrupted genome,” said Phil Febbo, M.D., chief medical officer at Illumina. “Knowing the genetic changes in a patient’s cancer increasingly results in personalized, targeted therapy and improved outcomes. 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 study is part of the AHN Cancer Institute’s initiative to help improve cancer care, which also includes the recent launch of the AHN Clinical Genomics Laboratory located in Pittsburgh. The assessment will analyze roughly 1,000 patient samples to compare solid tissue biopsies with blood samples to find out whether regular blood testing can provide additional, relevant information on the genetic changes within a patient’s cancer, that may help in the selection of targeted therapies. Samples for the study have been collected across AHN Cancer Institute’s 24 affiliated oncology clinics. The project began this year 2022 and is slated for one year, with the potential to expand this clinical research in the future.

The goal is to determine if less-invasive CGP testing of blood samples could potentially complement tissue sampling, substantially increasing the number of patients who are able to have their tumors profiled and be part of 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, M.D., chair of the AHN Cancer Institute. “We believe our collaboration with Illumina will help bring us closer to that reality.”

The AHN Cancer Institute employs more than 200 physicians and 500 oncology professionals 24 affiliated oncology clinics. It provide patients with access to state-of-the-art technologies and new therapies being explored in hundreds of clinical cancer trials. AHN has a formal affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, for research, medical education and clinical services.

Also of Interest