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International Commission to Expand Molecular Testing Access for Cancer Patients

NEW YORK – The University of Glasgow said on Tuesday that it will lead a new commission dedicated to improving global access to diagnostic tests and personalized cancer care.

The Lancet Oncology Commission, comprising an international team of experts, will study obstacles to widespread adoption of molecular testing for cancer diagnosis and treatment and generate practical solutions for expanding access and reducing global health inequities. The commission will analyze how health and genomic data are collected and shared in order to develop best practices and facilitate drug development.

The International Cancer Genome Consortium's Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology (ICGC ARGO) initiative, which is spearheading an effort to analyze specimens from 100,000 cancer patients, will coordinate the commission's work. Other participating organizations include the European Society for Medical Oncology, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group, African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer, Asian Oncology Society, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, International Quality Network for Pathology, and US Food and Drug Administration.

"The time has come to incorporate broad genomic testing in routine cancer care. This will improve outcomes by using current treatments better through predicting who they will work for and for whom they won't before giving a treatment," Andrew Biankin, ICGC ARGO director and regius chair of surgery at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement. "This will avoid the use of ineffective treatments, minimizing side effects and costs and providing better access for patients to new treatments and clinical trials."

Biankin and his colleagues have previously established the Glasgow Precision Oncology Laboratory and the Precision-Panc master protocol pancreatic cancer clinical trial.