Integrating Functional and Genomic Profiling for Optimal Combination Therapies for Cancer Patients


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Challenge: In recent years, a growing number of cancer patients have been treated with therapies targeting specific genetic alterations present in their tumors. Generally, this is done in combination with traditional chemotherapeutic agents that represent the standard of care. However, a systematic analysis to identify the most appropriate combination of chemo and targeted therapy to which a patient will favorably respond represents a significant challenge to clinicians. Tools and procedures that can expedite the determination of the optimal combination therapy are in significant demand.

Solution: The goal of this project was to develop a methodology for assessing the mutational burden of a patient’s tumor and testing its sensitivity to different chemotherapeutic regimens ex-vivo. This collaboration stemmed from the joint expertise of DiaTech Oncology (Quebec), a diagnostic laboratory business with a unique assay, testing functional chemotherapeutic response of biopsied tumors, and the Kew Group (Massachusetts), a leading diagnosis provider of molecular profiling data from patient tumors. The researchers hypothesized that by leveraging both functional (DiaTech’s technology) and genomic profiling platforms (Kew’s technology) to test patient biopsy samples with a matrix of drug combinations, clinicians would be guided on more robust and varied treatment options. The goal was to perform these combinatorial assays on two distinct cohorts of 200 patients affected by either ovarian or breast cancer and to demonstrate the power of the technology as a platform to deliver personalized medicine to cancer patients.

Achievements/Impact: Development of protocols to perform both types of analyses from the same specimen and logistics of material transfer between labs was successfully completed. However, a business reorganization of DiaTech Oncology forced the company to terminate the project before its completion. DiaTech (now renamed Pierian Biosciences) and Kew are still both active in the field of personalized medicine.

Principal Investigator:
Mathieu Perrée
DiaTech Oncology
Stephen Lyle
Kew Group (USA)
Terminated  Project
$1,974,725 / 3 years
Supported by CQDM through:
And by co-funding partners:
– MLSC (États-Unis)
– DiaTech Oncology
– Kew Group
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