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NYS DOH Approves Cancer Exome Sequencing Tests from Columbia U, Weill Cornell Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The New York State Department of Health recently approved two separate cancer whole-exome sequencing tests from Columbia University and from Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian.

Both tests aim to help doctors make therapy decisions for cancer patients.

Columbia University's cancer whole exome and transcriptome test, which is offered by the Laboratory for Personalized Genomic Medicine, was launched about a year ago, initially for pediatric cancer patients. The test sequences DNA and mRNA from frozen tumor samples and normal controls and has a turnaround time of 60 days. It detects cancer-specific missense, indel, and copy number changes; chimeric RNA and RNA with altered expression levels; and inherited mutations that predispose to cancer. According to Peter Nagy, one of the laboratory's directors, it was recently approved by New York state.

Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center's cancer exome sequencing test, called EXaCT-1, was developed by the institution's precision medicine team and is currently available to patients with advanced cancers through the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, a research institute. 

This summer, the team, led by Mark Rubin, director of the Englander Institute and professor of oncology and pathology at Weill Cornell Medicine, published a feasibility study of the test in JAMA Oncology. The study examined 97 patients with metastatic and treatment-resistant cancers and found that whole-exome sequencing provided informative results in 94 percent of cases. The test involves the analysis of a tumor sample and normal control.

Following the recent approval of EXaCT-1 by New York state, the test will be implemented for large-scale clinical use in oncology patients treated at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, according to the institution.