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Cancer Genetics, Columbia Researchers Collaborate on MDS Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cancer Genetics today announced a collaboration with Columbia University researchers to identify more accurate diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for myelodysplastic syndromes.

The goal of the collaboration, which also includes the identification of new therapies targeting this class of bone marrow cancers, is to develop personalized therapies for MDS patients and to facilitate the accurate prediction of future treatment needs before patients become resistant to their current therapies, or before their disease progresses to the more aggressive acute myeloid leukemia, the partners said.

Cancer Genetics will be working with Azra Raza, director of the MDS Center and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, assistant professor of medicine at CUMC, and plans to develop next-generation sequencing panels based on work resulting from the collaboration.

The Rutherford, NJ-based cancer diagnostics company called the agreement a potentially significant commercial opportunity and noted that about 15,000 new MDS cases are diagnosed in the US annually, of which about 30 percent progress to AML. MDS patients need to be monitored vigilantly and treatment can reach $50,000 per patient per year, it said

Cancer Genetics also noted that Raza has a repository of about 50,000 samples from MDS patients, one of the largest such repositories in the world. Many of the patients were followed for more than 20 years through disease progression and remission. She also has been involved in the development and US Food and Drug Administration approval of every drug on the market for treating MDS.

"With more elaborate genomic sequencing, we will be able to make
a significant leap in the quality of personalized care we can deliver
to our MDS patients," Raza said in a statement.