Gene Network Sciences Announces Brain Cancer Collaboration with M.D. Anderson
News Apr 15, 2009
Gene Network Sciences, Inc. (GNS) has announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center aimed at the translation of DNA sequence and clinical data from patients with glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, into breakthrough discoveries leading to drugs and diagnostics.
This collaboration will leverage the combination of genetic data and clinical oncology expertise from M.D. Anderson with supercomputers and advanced machine-learning software from GNS. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The rich glioblastoma dataset produced by M.D. Anderson researchers, which includes genetic, genomic, and clinical endpoint data ("3-D Data"), will be analyzed using GNS's supercomputer-driven REFS™ (Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation) software platform. These analyses are expected to generate models that enable the discovery of key genes, proteins and other molecular entities that together, as a network, causally drive glioblastoma disease progression, disease recurrence, and survival.
The results from these projects will include the identification of new combination drug targets for disease and the development of diagnostics to determine appropriate individual patient treatments.
"There continues to be an urgent need for a more efficient translation of research into improved treatments for glioblastoma patients," said Dr. Kenneth Aldape, who led the M.D. Anderson glioblastoma research team that conducted the research that produced the data. "With its computational expertise and commercially tested REFS(TM) platform, GNS is well positioned to work with us to achieve the desired acceleration in the development of sorely needed effective treatments and diagnostics for this deadly disease."
The parties plan to transform this coherent clinical 3-D Data into computer models which link genetic alterations to changes in gene expression to progression-free patient survival times. This computer model, developed by using the REFS(TM) platform, is expected to unravel the complex genetic circuitry underlying glioblastoma and reveal novel drug targets and markers of response.
These targets and markers may be used to identify the optimal single or combination drug therapy for a given patient's genetic alteration profile. The parties will utilize M.D. Anderson's clinical expertise to validate the discoveries and will work with strategic partners to make drugs and diagnostics stemming from these discoveries available to patients.
"GNS is excited to be working with one of the world's foremost research and clinical care institutions to rapidly translate lab bench research into bedside results," said Colin Hill, CEO of GNS. "Our collaborative work with M.D. Anderson is one of the first examples of applying next-generation machine-learning software and supercomputers to begin to realize the promise of personalized medicine."
China is poised to introduce a new regulation on gene editing in humans. A draft of the country’s new civil code lists human genes and embryos in a section on personality rights to be protected. Experiments on genes in adults or embryos that endanger human health or violate ethical norms can accordingly be seen as a violation of a person’s fundamental rights.READ MORE