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Genomics Goes to (Clinical) Trial

Foundation Medicine will profile tumor genomes for Novartis’ cancer drug trials.

A partnership between pharmaceutical giant Novartis and genomics company Foundation Medicine could bring more cancer therapeutics to the clinic at an accelerated pace. 

Novartis plans to use Foundation Medicine’s genome interpretation technology as part of its clinical trial enrollment process for cancer drug testing over the next three years. This type of tumor genome analysis, which involves searching for potential drug targets in the genetic sequence of tumors, is already an important part of Novartis’ clinical trials, reports GenomeWeb.

One of the promises of genomic sequencing and personalized medicine is that drug treatments can be tailored to the genetic anomalies of a patient’s tumor, which may be quite different from those of another patient’s tumor. Novartis could use the genomic profiles of patients’ tumors to better select participants for their clinical trials or perhaps to identify new molecular targets for treatment.   

“The comprehensive molecular assessment of Novartis’ Oncology clinical trial samples is expected to help to bring potentially lifesaving therapies to the right patients more quickly, and we expect that the wealth of molecular information will help fundamentally improve the way cancer is understood and treated,” said president and CEO of Foundation Medicine Michael Pellini in a statement.

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