Today, Life Technologies Corporation announced the creation of the Genomic Cancer Care Alliance, a groundbreaking initiative for oncologists and their patients that hopes to demonstrate how whole-genome sequencing, combined with analytics and counseling, can help identify a treatment plan customized specifically for each patient. The Alliance brings together a number of well-respected institutions, including Fox Chase Cancer Center, Scripps Genomic Medicine, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The Alliance will launch a pilot study aimed at determining whether whole-genome sequencing can better guide treatment decisions across a number of difficult-to-treat cancers. US Oncology, Inc., the nation’s leading integrated oncology company, will serve as the contract research and site management organization for the study. Patients enrolled in the study will be analyzed using Life Technologies’ Applied Biosystems SOLiD™ System, as its throughput, accuracy and flexibility will allow researchers to generate the high quality data needed for this study.

Earlier this year, Life Technologies, US Oncology, and TGen announced a research trial to sequence the genomes of patients with a specific type of treatment-resistant breast cancer. In contrast to that trial, this study is the first one to evaluate the use of whole-genome sequencing information in guiding treatment decisions across a wide range of cancer types.

Life Technologies believes that a more personalized approach to cancer treatment may reduce the medical and emotional burdens of cancer treatments that end up providing little to no therapeutic benefit. To provide just one of a myriad of examples, colorectal cancer patients with certain mutations in the gene KRAS tend not to respond to treatment with EGFR inhibitors, some of the most common first-line cancer therapies. By testing for mutations in KRAS and other genes, oncologists and researchers will be able to develop customized treatment plans for patients. These plans could help patients avoid treatments that carry low probabilities of clinical response. Individualized plans could save time—critical in the treatment of cancer—and could help patients avoid harmful side effects associated with some powerful cancer therapies.

More information about enrollment in the study will be made available in the near future.