AHN Partners With Illumina to Assess Role of Comprehensive Genomic Profiling

Partners | <b>Allegheny Health Network</b>

Allegheny Health Network and Illumina, Inc. announced a collaborative effort to assess their in-house comprehensive genomic testing to analyze the role of genetic tests in improving cancer care.

Allegheny Health Network (AHN), which serves Western Pennsylvania, announced its collaboration with Illumina, Inc. for a study evaluating the role that comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) plays in improving the quality of care for patients with cancer, according to a joint press release.1

The study will explore the genetic variations that may influence personalized treatment options for cancer and assess the utility of in-house genetic testing of tissue and blood samples versus external testing, as well as the value of blood-based testing versus tissue analysis. Samples from AHN Cancer Institute's 24 affiliated oncology clinics have been collected for the purpose of the study.

“As an organization that treats more than 10,000 cancer patients each year, being at the forefront of CGP is critically important to our mission of helping pioneer the next generation of targeted therapies that will provide more effective treatment for all types of cancers,” David Bartlett, MD, chair of AHN Cancer Institute, said in a statement.“We believe our collaboration with Illumina will help bring us closer to that reality.”

Illumina specializes in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies for cancer treatment as well as for other uses in life sciences.

The newly-established AHN Clinical Genomics Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA is aiming to improve the cancer care pathway at AHN Cancer Institute. AHN plans to use this initiative to study approximately 1000 samples from patients with cancer to determine whether samples from blood testing can provide actionable information on the genetic changes in tumors compared with samples from solid tissue biopsies. CGP blood testing is less invasive, more accessible to patients, and could reduce the dependence on tissue biopsy to profile the genetic makeup of tumors.

Genomic profiling plays a role in determining the disease’s likelihood to respond to standard treatment and whether alternative treatments are available based on genetic biomarkers. It is also essential to getting patients access to clinical trials for newer therapies. In-house testing can be completed more quickly and conveniently, potentially having a major impact on the quality of patient care early on in treatment. In addition, clinical oncologists can collaborate more closely with pathologists to understand how to proceed with treatment based on CGP data.

The evaluation could determine if blood-based testing may be more beneficial to patients depending on their disease type and cancer stage and increase the number of patients who can have their cancer’s key biomarkers and genetic features identified rapidly after diagnosis.

“We know that cancer results from a disrupted genome and knowing the genetic changes in a patient's cancer increasingly results in personalized, targeted therapy and improved outcomes,” Phil Febbo, MD, chief medical officer at Illumina, said in a press release. “Partnering with AHN to help them perform testing within their system will further advance their institutional expertise in genomic cancer diagnosis, increase opportunities to match their patients with personalized therapy, and improve patient outcomes.”

Reference:

1. Illumina and Allegheny Health Network to assess in-house comprehensive cancer genomic profiling to enhance patient care. PRNewswire. Published May 18, 2022. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://prn.to/3wVhVO2