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Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women's Start Tumor Genotyping Collaboration

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital have launched a genotyping project that will study tumor tissue in a search for cancer related gene mutations.

The project, called Profile, will be open to every adult cancer patient at the Brigham and Women's and Dana-Farber Longwood Medical Area clinics, and in the coming year it will be extended to pediatric cancer patients, Dana-Farber said today.

The partners will use a mass spectrometric genotyping platform developed by investigators at Dana-Farber and The Broad Institute called OncoMap to prepare and sort tissues, and scan tumors for point mutations that will be stored in a database.

The Profile project will scan tumor samples for nearly 500 cancer mutations in 41 genes and is expected to involve more than 10,000 participants in the first year

Dana-Farber Chief Scientific Officer Barrett Rollins said in a statement that genotyping data of mutations will enable the partners to "design therapies geared specifically to those mutations, depriving the tumor of the ability to sustain itself while producing a minimum of side effects.

"We're laying the foundation for the development, testing, and implementation of such therapies, and we expect the project to grow as we discover new cancer-related gene mutations and with the development of new technologies," Rollins said.

The partners plan to collect and study the genomic biomarker data along with information from patients' electronic medical records about disease course, relapse, and side effects, which will be placed in a separate database, in order to study which therapies are the most effective against particular tumor types.

This project also will allow the participants to have their OncoMap testing results sent to their physicians at Dana-Farber or Brigham and Women's to help them find out if they are eligible for current clinical trials.

"We've learned a great deal about the role of specific mutated genes in cancer, and we now have technology for testing large numbers of tumor samples for those mutations," added Brigham and Women's Director of Molecular Diagnostics Janina Longtine. "For the first time, we have the opportunity to build a critical mass of genomic data that can be used to bring better treatments to patients."