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Greenville Launches Rare Tumor Center, Nabs $1M and Partnership with Foundation Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Greenville Health System in South Carolina has launched a Rare Tumor Center and has reeled in a $1 million private donation to support the facility, GHS said Tuesday.

GHS also said it has struck a strategic alliance with Foundation Medicine to provide patients with molecular profiling of their rare cancer tumors. Under the agreement, patients at the center who qualify will receive molecular testing via the FoundationOne test, which uses next-generation sequencing to detect genomic alterations in more than 230 genes that are thought to be most relevant to the growth and spread of cancer. In the 18-month clinical trial, GHS plans to use the test results to determine treatment options and to decide which clinical trials may be most beneficial for each patient.

GHS said rare tumors are defined as those that affect anywhere between 150 and 5,000 patients per year, but taken cumulatively they account for 20 percent of all cancer patients.

GHS expects the Rare Tumor Center will take in more than 100 patients in its first year. These patients will receive a standard diagnostic evaluation, support services, and "streamlined access" to surgery and radiation oncology. The center will remain in contact with its patients and their referring physicians to provide information about new possible treatment options.

"This development carries promise for patients with rare tumors that have not benefited from the dedicated research efforts and therapeutic advances in some of the more common and extensively studied tumor types," Foundation Medicine Chief Medical Officer Vince Miller said in a statement.

The donation was provided to the GHS Cancer Institute by Jerry and Harriet Dempsey.
GHS said the program and the alliance will result in improved guidelines for the treatment of rare tumors, and will generate a cancer databank that will be useful to researchers around the world.

As GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Clinical Sequencing News reported last year, GHS has already kicked off a cancer profiling collaboration with Greenville-based Selah Genomics that operates out of the Clinical Genomics Center at the GHS Institute for Translational Oncology Research. Under that program, Selah and GHS offer patients a test called PrecisionPath, which uses Ion Torrent's AmpliSeq panel.