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23andMe, Genentech Expand Study Targeting Avastin

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – 23andMe today announced the expansion of its online study conducted with Genentech for the biotech firm's oncology drug Avastin (bevacizumab).

In a post on 23andMe's blog, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said that its study with Genentech, called InVite, is now open to any patient in the US who used Avastin before 2013 for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, relapsed glioblastoma, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, or metastatic breast cancer.

All study participants will be asked to send a spit sample for genetic analysis and to complete five online surveys during the course of a year about their cancer and their experience with Avastin. Participants will have the option of providing a blood sample for additional analysis, 23andMe said, adding that it hopes to recruit 1,000 patients for the study.

"By combining participants’ genetic data with survey responses, we hope to discover new genetic markers for these advanced diseases, and to understand why some people respond well to treatment when others do not," 23andMe said on its blog. "23andMe is excited about partnering with Genentech on this new and innovative web-based approach to data collection and research process."

Today's announcement builds on the InVite study, which was originally launched last year and was aimed at metastatic breast cancer, as GenomeWeb Daily News' sister publication Pharmacogenomics Reporter previously reported.

At the time, Holli Dickson, a Genentech spokesperson, told PGx Reporter that one of the goals of InVite was to see whether such an online method was an effective tool for recruiting patients for clinical trials. Dickson told GWDN today that the InVite study on metastatic breast cancer indicated that such an approach proved "interesting and effective." The expansion of the study was based on the positive participant response to the initial InVite study, she said.

Beyond patient response to online recruiting, Dickson added that another of the goals of the expanded InVite study will be to research the role of genes on how Avastin works.

Avastin is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating metastatic colorectal cancer, advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic kidney cancer, and glioblastoma.

FDA revoked Avastin's indication for metastatic breast cancer in late 2011, saying it had not been shown to be safe and effective for treating that ailment.

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