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AACR Business Roundup: Thermo Fisher, Mission Bio, Stand Up To Cancer, Cancer Research UK

Thermo Fisher Scientific announced the establishment of the International Childhood Oncology Network (ICON), concurrent with the launch of its Oncomine Childhood Cancer Research Assay. ICON is intended to be a global community of academic and clinical researchers who collaborate by sharing data, best practices, and experiment protocols to better understand pediatric, childhood, and young adult cancers. Membership in ICON is available through a registration process enabling access to data sets uploaded to the ICOn database by network members.

Mission Bio said it has sold its Tapestri single-cell DNA analysis platform to a number of cancer centers, including the National Cancer Institute, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of California San Francisco, the Univresiyt of Pennsylvania, and Washington University School of Medicine.

Stand Up To Cancer announced a $10 million award to a SU2C "Dream Team" that will focus on the detection of conditions that are precursors to full-blown multiple myeloma. The team will be led by Irene Ghobrial, associate professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; and Ivan Borrello, associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The project will involve a large-scale population survey in the US for precursor conditions of multiple myeloma, specifically monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM). Blood samples from approximately 50,000 people, recruited largely through social media, will be analyzed to find what is expected to be about 3,000 with the precursor conditions, which cause no symptoms and are usually detected only when a physician orders a blood test for another reason. Because it is unclear how to tell whether someone with MGUS or SMM will progress to full-blown multiple myeloma, the research team will follow those with the precursor conditions and will use the samples to discover biomarkers to help predict those with a high risk of progressing. The team will also work to develop treatments for high-risk SMM and multiple myeloma.

The American Association for Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK said that they have launched an international alliance to "stimulate leading-edge discoveries in cancer research that will ultimately help to save lives from this complex disease." Over the coming year, AACR and CRUK will launch a comprehensive portfolio of initiatives that will provide the cancer research community with a platform for building links between laboratories and clinics in the US and the UK. This may include establishing training and exchange programs, catalyzing scientific innovation by convening international meetings and workshops, and uniting the community to influence global research policy, among other important topics, the organizations said.

The Scan

Suicidal Ideation-Linked Loci Identified Using Million Veteran Program Data

Researchers in PLOS Genetics identify risk variants within and across ancestry groups with a genome-wide association study involving veterans with or without a history of suicidal ideation.

Algorithm Teases Out Genetic Ancestry in Individuals at Biobank Scale

Researchers develop an algorithm known as Rye to tease apart ancestry fractions in admixed individuals at a biobank-scale, applying it to 488,221 UK Biobank participants in Nucleic Acids Research.

Multi-Ancestry Analysis Highlights Comparable Common Variants at Complex Trait-Linked Loci

Researchers in Nature Genetics examine common variants implicated in more than three dozen conditions, estimating genetic effect similarities across ancestry tracts in admixed individuals.

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.