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Jackson Lab, Beth Israel to Team on Clinical Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Jackson Laboratory and Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have partnered to launch clinical genomics initiatives targeting new diagnostics and treatments and collaborative genomic education programs, Jackson Lab said on Monday.

Jackson Lab and BIDMC's Cancer Center will apply their research and clinical capabilities, and their respective mouse model systems in particular, to co-develop new diagnostic and therapeutic services.

They will harness Jackson Lab's PDX (patient-derived xenograft) platform for studying genomic profiles with BIDMC's Mouse Hospital, which uses genetically altered mice to replicate human cancers for use in human and animal clinical trials. Using these systems, the partners plan to develop next-generation mouse models, genomic platforms, and related tools, Jackson said.

BIDMC Cancer Center Director Pier Pandolfi in a statement said the mouse platforms are "highly complementary" and that the collaboration with Jackson Lab will enable the partners to "speed the pace of future discoveries and bring personalized cancer treatments to patients much more quickly."

"Someday, individual patients will have their own cancer 'avatars' – mouse models that host their tumor tissue or tumors with a similar genetic background and serve as a stand-in for testing precision therapies for cancer," Pandolfi said.

The partners plan to develop various clinical genomics applications, such as a diagnostic platform for analyzing patient samples and guiding individual therapies, diagnostic reports to help physicians use genomic data in patient care and to access clinical trials, and mouse-based methods to identify optimal drug regimens for individual cancer patients.

The partners also plan to emphasize genomics education and will launch genomics-based training programs and create joint faculty appointments.

"A critical component of this affiliation is to develop programs that will disseminate knowledge about innovative diagnostics beyond academic medical centers to community-based physicians," said BIDMC Chief of Pathology Jeffrey Saffitz. "It is ultimately through this mechanism that the benefits of genomic medicine will reach the vast majority of cancer patients."