Avera Health Adds Theralink Data for Multiomics Approach to Cancer Treatment

DNA strand and Cancer Cell
Credit: CIPhotos/Getty Images

Avera Health, a 300-location integrated health network located in the Upper Midwest of the U.S. has announced it will incorporate the phosphoprotein data from a breast cancer assay developed by Theralink Technologies as it launches a multiomics approach to diagnosing and choosing targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer.

Avera has been a leader among health systems in the U.S. in using genomic cancer testing to individually characterize each patient’s cancer and to tailor its treatments based on these data. Now, the health network will combine its sequencing-based approach with Theralink’s RPRA (Reverse Phase Protein Array) technology to enhance genomic insights with protein and phosphoprotein biomarker data. Theralink’s platform measures the tumor cell levels of activated proteins, which are the primary targets of most FDA-approved therapies and biopharmaceutical investigational drugs.

“Avera has been a cancer care leader in our region for many years. Avera Cancer Institute is focused on actionable insights for our physicians and patients to make treatment decisions that are personalized,” said Casey Williams, chief scientific officer and executive director of Cancer Research at Avera in a press release. “We understand the role this innovative approach plays in generating better health outcomes for our patients, and Theralink will play a key role in that process.”

Theralink’s assay will be used to find which drug targets are activated in “in use” in each patient’s tumor sample. When coupled with a patient’s genomic data these will provide a more comprehensive view of each patient’s cancer with the aim of helping physicians find the most effective targeted therapies.

A key feature of the collaboration will be further development of data to validate Theralink’s assay for use in treatment decisions for other cancers including gynecological, head and deck, gastrointestinal, lung, kidney, Liver, and prostate cancers. Validation will use retrospective data from Avera as well as population health data with the intent of establishing Theralink’s assay as a pan-cancer test.

“We believe that the Theralink protein/phosphoprotein data, combined with the next generation sequencing data, may give Avera Cancer Institute the most cutting edge and best precision oncology data in the world, potentially creating a step change in cancer care,” said Mick Ruxin, M.D., president and CEO of Theralink. “It is gratifying to know that a large, prestigious, midwest cancer program, Avera Health, has realized the significant potential value of our Theralink assay for their cancer patients. We expect great results from working with Avera and their patients in our goal to decrease the morbidity and mortality of cancer patients.”

Golden, CO-based Theralink’s assays assist pharmaceutical companies and oncologists to identify likely responders and non-responders to both FDA-approved and investigational drug treatments. Theralink intends to help improve cancer outcomes for patients, help reveal therapeutic options for oncologists, and support biopharmaceutical drug development by using a beyond-genomics approach to molecular profiling that directly measures drug target levels and activity.

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