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SickKids Adopts Life Technologies' Ion Proton™ Sequencer to Launch New Centre for Genetic Medicine

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2012
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Long-term partnership will focus on sequencing 10,000 genomes per year to revolutionize pediatric disease research in Canada.

Life Technologies Corporation has announced that it has partnered with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to advance pediatric genomic research on the Ion Proton™ Sequencer.

Under the agreement, the semiconductor-based platform will be the primary instrument on which multiple clinical research samples will be mapped daily on four sequencers in the hospital's newly launched Centre for Genetic Medicine.

SickKids and Life Technologies will collaborate on developing sequencing workflows and protocols for the Ion Proton™ System that are tailored for studies of interest to researchers in the Centre.

The first collaborative project will focus on sequencing clinical research samples to better understand the genetics behind autism, with a long-term goal to sequence up to 10,000 genomes per year to study various diseases in children.

"The perfect storm of unparalleled advances in genome sequencing technology and information science, and a captivated hospital striving for new ways to move forward in medical treatment, bring us to this important day," says the new Centre's Co-Director, Dr. Stephen Scherer, who also leads The Centre for Applied Genomics at SickKids and the University of Toronto's McLaughlin Centre.

Dr. Scherer continued, "We are very excited to work with Life Technologies to enhance our sequencing capabilities, such that 'genomic surveillance' may soon become the first line of investigation in all clinical research studies ongoing at our institution."

"Since the first published draft sequence of the human genome, our knowledge in genetics has exponentially increased," says Dr. Ronald Cohn, Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Genetic Medicine.

Dr. Cohn continued, "With the help of this new technology, we will be able to further deepen our understanding of the genetic basis of human disease and translate this directly into daily clinical practice. We have finally reached a point, where individualized medicine is not just a theoretical concept, but will become an integral part of clinical care and management."

The Ion Proton™ Sequencer is designed to sequence an entire human genome in a day for $1,000.

Unlike traditional next generation systems, it relies on semiconductor chips to map human exomes and genomes, making it much faster and less expensive to analyze DNA at unprecedented throughput levels and generate accurate sequencing data.

The Ion Proton™ System is based on the same proven technology as its predecessor, the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM™), which is designed for sequencing small genomes or sets of genes.

Combined with Life Technologies' AmpliSeq™ targeted sequencing technology, researchers can sequence panels of genes associated with disease on the PGM™ or exomes and genomes on the Ion Proton™ Sequencer in just a few hours.

"SickKids has a rich history of being at the forefront of pediatric medicine and we are pleased that its leaders have chosen the Ion Proton Sequencer as the Centre's primary technology to push the boundaries of genomics," said Mark Stevenson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Life Technologies.

Stevenson continued, "Ion semiconductor technology's speed, simplicity and scalability are democratizing sequencing, and it will now be applied in disease research to benefit children."

The above mentioned technology is for research use only and not intended for human diagnostic or therapeutic use.

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