NEW YORK – Laboratory Corporation of America and Community Clinical Oncology Research Network on Thursday announced a collaboration aimed at improving precision oncology diversity and addressing disparities in access to clinical trials, advanced diagnostic testing, and genomic sequencing.
The partners will jointly create a patient registry — dubbed PREFER, for PRospective rEgistry oF advanced stage cancER — which will enroll up to 2,500 patients with advanced solid cancers from sites across the US. The registry will include patient data gleaned from Labcorp's advanced diagnostic testing as well as genomic data gleaned from Labcorp's OmniSeq Insight, a tissue-based comprehensive genomic and immune-profiling test. The test uses next-generation sequencing to interrogate 523 genes for mutations, select copy number alterations, and fusions/splice variants such as genes associated with homologous recombination repair deficiency, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutational burden. For immune profiling, OmniSeq Insight also uses immunohistochemistry to evaluate gene expression across 64 immune genes and PD-L1 expression. The results collected via the registry will inform research into patients' actionable biomarkers and driver mutations that may be unique to their ethnicities.
Through the partnership, Labcorp and CCORN — a startup company with the goal of closing gaps in precision oncology access — also plan to launch a biobank to support real-world, evidence-based research into precision oncology disparities across the broader oncology community. According to the partners, information from the biobank together with the patient registry could improve clinical trial design, patient recruitment strategies, and expanded genomic profiling access.
"Diverse populations already suffer from a lack of access to adequate cancer diagnosis and treatment," Kashyap Patel, CCORN's founder and chairman, said in a statement. "Drug development processes have been relatively unsuccessful in reflecting demographic diversity in clinical trials, which further contributes to disparities in care and outcomes for those groups," he said, adding the partnership with Labcorp could be a step in the right direction to shedding light on the source of these disparities.