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Lucence Diagnostics, NCCS Partner to Improve Cancer Genetic Testing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Lucence Diagnostics announced today that it will partner with the National Cancer Center Singapore (NCCS) on a study to improve genetic testing for breast and gynecological cancers in Asian women.

As part of the collaboration, NCCS will contribute its database of genomic variants and its expertise in classifying those variants for clinical use, and Lucence will contribute its own expertise in DNA sequencing and genomic data analysis, the partners said.

Lucence is planning to collect blood samples from 300 patients with a personal or family history of breast and gynecological cancer, or early onset breast cancer. After sample extraction, researchers will use next-generation sequencing to identify genetic variants linked to cancer risks. NCCS will then build a database of hereditary breast and gynecological cancers mutations in Asian women across all ethnicities — including information from its own database, for clinical use.

As the first study to focus on the Asian female population, the Singapore study is supported by a S$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) A*STAR Industry Alignment Fund – Industry Collaboration Projects grant. The collaborators plan to complete the study in three years. The team believes that the study will help doctors to more accurately identify Asian women who may be predisposed to these conditions through genetic testing.

"This combined effort has enabled NCCS to develop capabilities in data analysis that auger well for our future research," NCCS associate professor and principal investigator Ann Lee said in a statement.

Lucence and NCCS are also aiming to use the data to develop better services for early detection and prevention among women who are at high risk due to family history. They believe that the data will help determine if a patient may respond better to specific targeted therapy instead of standard chemotherapy. Further, the team believes that the research may also help detect other Asian hereditary cancers, such as colorectal cancer.

"As a genomic medicine company with operations in the region, Lucence is focused on using our expertise and understanding of Asian cancers to fight cancer," Lucence Founder and CEO Tan Min-Han added. "The new study will help us to discover new genetic variants predisposing women to cancer and improve genetic testing for the Asian populations."

In addition to partnering with NCCS, Lucence announced earlier this week that it is collaborating with Bangkok Molecular Genetics to distribute the firm's blood-based cancer diagnosis and screening assays in Thailand. Lucence also said last month that it is working with Singapore's Quest Laboratories to offer the blood-based cancer diagnostic assays developed by Lucence for Quest Lab's customers in the region.