Helicos BioSciences Enters Molecular Diagnostics Collaboration with City of Hope to Sequence Cancer-Associated Genes
News Apr 16, 2008
Helicos BioSciences has announced a research collaboration with City of Hope focused on cancer molecular diagnostics. City of Hope will use Helicos’ proprietary True Single Molecule Sequencing (tSMS)™ technology for the examination of known cancer-associated gene variants and the potential discovery of new mutations within those genes.
“Our potential to personalize the treatment of cancer will be directly dependent on our ability to understand the genetic variation among individual patients as well as the genetic heterogeneity of their tumor genomes,” said Dr. Steve Sommer, director of the Department of Molecular Genetics and director of the Department of Molecular Diagnosis at City of Hope. “We expect that Helicos’ tSMS technology will allow for coverage that has the power to see beneath the surface and into the depths of the genome.”
Helicos’ proprietary tSMS technology directly sequences single molecules of DNA or RNA, an advance that enables unparalleled accuracy, simplicity and scale in genomic experimentation. With the ability to analyze billions of single molecules simultaneously, tSMS technology can directly measure the large sample numbers required to assess the frequency of gene variants within a population of individuals or within a tumor.
“While common variants are important in the landscape of oncology, the true picture can only be revealed with a combination of common, as well as rare variants,” said Dr. Patrice Milos, chief scientific officer and vice president of Helicos BioSciences. “As we continue to advance our single molecule sequencing technology, we anticipate providing City of Hope with access, for the first time, to deep genetic data that will benefit patients.”
“We expect that Helicos’ technology will enable City of Hope to explore single molecule sequencing to conduct cancer research using an ultra high throughput method never before possible,” said Dr. Jakub Sram at City of Hope. “The field needs novel research tools, such as the Helicos™ Genetic Analysis System, that offer future potential for clinical utility in molecular diagnostics.”
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.