Affymetrix Inc. and the CureSearch Children's Oncology Group (COG) have announced that they have entered into a collaboration to discover and validate gene expression signatures, or genetic fingerprints, for a number of common childhood cancers, including leukemia and sarcoma, a common solid tumor.
The two organizations will work together using Affymetrix' GeneChip® microarray technology and COG's existing databank of 20,000 tumor samples.
“This translational medicine agreement will create a synergistic opportunity for COG as a clinical trials organization, the NCI as its sponsor, and industry to identify and validate potentially drugable molecular targets for pediatric cancers in a more efficient and effective manner than any one of us might accomplish alone,” said Gregory Reaman, chair of COG.
“This agreement will greatly facilitate COG's widespread research into the genetic basis of childhood cancer using Affymetrix technology,” said Timothy Triche, associate chair of COG for Translational Research.
“We expect more COG investigators will now be able to exploit this technology and create a common database of genetic information across all childhood cancer.”
In a first step towards developing cancer diagnostics, COG scientists will use Affymetrix microarrays to find genes that are similarly expressed among a group of children who share the same disease.
That group of genes, called a gene expression profile or "cancer signature," will act as a genetic fingerprint for the cancer.
Physicians can then use that fingerprint to test other patients for cancer, enabling them to diagnose and treat the disease early before irreversible symptoms develop.
“Affymetrix-based gene expression signatures not only provide a robust platform for improved diagnostics and prognosis in childhood cancer, but they can also unlock key information that allows us to design novel therapeutics for children with malignant diseases,” said Poul Sorensen, chair of COG's Biopathology and Translational Research Committee. “We are thrilled to be working with Affymetrix on achieving this important goal.”
“Translational research is a critical first step to fighting the war on cancer, especially with children and adolescents,” said Steve Lombardi, senior vice president of Product Marketing and Development at Affymetrix.
“As the world's largest childhood cancer research organization, the CureSearch Children's Oncology Group continues to be at the forefront of scientific and clinical breakthroughs.”
“Affymetrix is excited to help identify the genetic causes of these deadly diseases and accelerate the development of a new personalized approach to treatment.”