Ashion Analytics, a clinical laboratory of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, is now part of the National Cancer Institute’s MATCH program, which provides patients who have rare or difficult-to-treat cancers with access to unique clinical trials nationwide that might give them the best therapeutic treatments and outcomes.
To achieve this complete analytic coverage of the human genome, Ashion uses a proprietary test called GEM ExTra, which covers all protein coding regions of DNA (known as the Exome), and an analysis of all RNA, the messengers of DNA (known as the Transcriptome). GEM stands for Genomic Enabled Medicine, and ExTra stands for Exome and Transcriptome.
An Ashion study poster presented May 29-31 at the 2020 annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) details the importance of using RNA as part of the analysis to give cancer physicians the best possible options for treating their patients: Employing RNA Sequencing to Enhance Treatment Options for Cancer Patients.
“As you can imagine, this requires billions of precise data points to understand each patient’s molecular makeup; to understand which genes are the likely culprits involved in the patient’s cancer, and what therapeutic drug, or drugs, may be best to counter the patient’s disease,” said Dr. Janine LoBello, Ashion’s Medical Director..
This could include new therapeutics, as well as existing drugs already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a particular cancer. These FDA-approved drugs could be repurposed to fight a different cancer through any of the more than 1,100 sites nationwide that are conducting NCI-MATCH clinical trials. Clinical trials are most often the first tests of drugs in human patients, after the drugs have undergone substantial computer and laboratory testing to ensure they are safe and effective.
“We are excited to be selected by the National Cancer Institute to participate in the NCI’s MATCH program, and we hope that more patients will benefit from this program as a result of our GEM ExTra testing,” said Thomas Royce, Executive Director of Ashion.