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OGT to Develop Tumour Profiling Assay to Facilitate Personalized Cancer Treatment

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Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), provider of innovative clinical genetics and diagnostic solutions to advance molecular medicine, has announced that it has received a funding award of £1.16 million from the UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board.

As part of the project, OGT will develop a tumour profiling assay based on targeted panel enrichment and next generation sequencing (NGS). The new assay would improve cancer care by providing specific information about each individual sufferer, thereby facilitating the design of personalized treatment strategies.

This would minimise the use of untargeted, aggressive primary treatments, which are often unnecessary and ineffective, while simultaneously improving the patient experience and increasing survival rates.

OGT is well positioned to develop such a screening tool, as the company has considerable experience in providing solutions to the clinical research market and already offers sequencing and microarray services and products as part of its Genefficiency™ and CytoSure™ offerings.

As part of the new project, OGT will utilize its expertise in the design of high-quality, high-throughput genomic services to develop a flexible tumour profiling assay that reduces sample processing costs and turnaround times.

The assay will detect mutations at informative loci, forming part of an integrated workflow that translates test results into clear clinical decisions. Such a solution would ultimately be provided as either a testing service or by the sale of an analysis ‘kit’ that could be used in-house by existing clinical laboratories.

In addition, OGT will use its experience in data interpretation to adapt its powerful CytoSure Interpret Software to analyze the results provided by the new assays, making it simple to generate informative, easy-to-understand reports.

James Clough, OGT’s Vice President of Clinical and Genomic Solutions, commented: “OGT has significant experience in utilizing its ISO-accredited laboratories to process large numbers of samples and produce reliable results, quickly, accurately and efficiently. The new cancer profiling assay will complement OGT’s other microarray and sequencing solutions, further expanding the analytical options we provide. Such a service facility is novel in the UK and will benefit the patient, clinician and healthcare funder in terms of quality of care and cost-effectiveness.”

The investment made through the Technology Strategy Board is part of a five-year programme in stratified medicine research and development involving over £60 million of government funding.

Led by OGT, the project is a partnership with the Universities of Southampton and Birmingham, including Salisbury and Birmingham NHS Regional Genetics Laboratories, with the latter as Birmingham United Molecular Pathology in collaboration with the Department of Cellular Pathology at University Hospitals Birmingham.

These partners will provide further clinical and technical expertise, as well as validation of the assay in a clinical setting using their own sequencing platforms.

Another partner in the project, CIS Healthcare, is a market leader in chemotherapy prescription management software. Results from the molecular profiling assay will be integrated into CIS Healthcare’s novel ChemoCare diagnostic module, thereby providing clinicians with up-to-date, accurate and consistent information with which to make treatment decisions.