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GenoSpace, Thomson Reuters to Provide Informatics Support for PathGroup's Cancer Testing Service

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GenoSpace and Thomson Reuters will provide data and analysis capabilities to support PathGroup's SmartGenomics service, the companies said recently..

The partnership provides PathGroup with the bioinformatics resources it needs to handle the large quantities of data generated by the recently launched service, which offers next-generation sequencing and array-based comparative genomic hybridization for genetic profiling of cancer patients.

PathGroup will also be able to access current information on things like US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs and clinical trials, which it can then provide to clinicians, Ben Davis, PathGroup’s chairman, president, and CEO, told BioInform.

"GenoSpace has the knowledge and expertise … to guide us in the bioinformatics interrogation of the data that we produce, and Thomson Reuters… [is] able to provide that global curated knowledgebase on an updated fashion," he said.

PathGroup also now has the ability to integrate the results of its NGS and cytogenomic arrays with data from traditional pathology assays for more comprehensive analysis, according to GenoSpace CEO John Quackenbush. Through Thomson Reuters, PathGroup also has access to external current content about things like mutations, alterations, clinical endpoints, and treatment options to help the lab deliver a "meaningful" service to both physicians and patients, he told BioInform.

GenoSpace's FullView and Clinical platforms provide the tools used to integrate PathGroup's anatomic, clinical, and molecular test data with information on genes, variants, and therapeutics from Thomson Reuters' Cortellis system — a set of application programming interfaces that lets researchers pull information from the Thomson Reuters databases and combine it with their own (BI 3/2/2012). At the end of the analysis, physicians receive detailed reports that they can use to make more precise therapeutic recommendations for their patients.

The SmartGenomics service is currently available to oncologists and is billed under existing managed care contracts that PathGroup has with multiple payors, Davis said. So far, he said, the service has been used by clinicians and patients involved in clinical trials. For now, the company's testing covers patients with solid tumors that are refractory to first-line treatments and hematologic malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. PathGroup plans to add testing for areas outside oncology at a later date, Davis said.

GenoSpace and Thomson Reuters, who began working together last year (BI 8/17/2012), also hope their resources will be useful in other disease areas as efforts to personalize treatments intensify.

"We've focused on oncology … because it’s the place where there's low-hanging fruit" but "in the next few years …we are going to see precision medicine expanding to include things like cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disease, and neonatal screening," Quackenbush said. One of the challenges will be to integrate data in a way that is both meaningful and useful and "I think this partnership demonstrates that those problems can be solved," he said.

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