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Genome BC Initiative Will Spearhead Development of AML Test to Guide Treatment

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This story was originally published July 5.

Genome British Columbia and the BC Cancer Foundation have formed a partnership to develop a genomic test to determine whether acute myeloid leukemia patients should receive chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation.

In the project, researchers will evaluate a variety of genomic technologies, including sequencing, and compare the methods to current diagnostic procedures. The goal of the effort is to "replace existing methods" with a single test that can assess a range of markers while keeping testing costs "at a sustainable level," even as future research uncovers other clinically relevant markers, according to the project description on Genome BC's website.

The project is one of three projects being funded under Genome BC's C$9 million ($9.35 million) Personalized Medicine Program, of which Genome BC is providing C$3 million ($3.1 million) and the remainder will be provided by other Canadian and international sources that will be secured by the applicants.

Genome BC and the BC Cancer Foundation are contributing $1 million each in funding for the AML project, with additional funding being provided by Simon Fraser University, Illumina, and other sources. The project will be led by Aly Karsan, medical director of the Cancer Genetics Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency, and Marco Marra, director of the BC Cancer Agency's Genome Sciences Center.

Identifying the genetic mutations of AML will help develop "a clinical tool to better treat each patient’s individual cancer," said Karsan in a statement.

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