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Helicos Places Sequencer at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

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This article, originally published Aug. 20, has been updated with additional information from the OICR.

By Julia Karow

Helicos BioSciences said last week that it has placed a Helicos Genetic Analysis System at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

The announcement follows two installations of it’s the company's single-molecule sequencing systems during the second quarter, one at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and one at an undisclosed biotechnology company in the Northeast (see In Sequence 8/18/2009).

Helicos President Steve Lombardi told In Sequence earlier this week that there are now seven instruments installed outside of the company, among them four placed by Helicos at research institutes and three ordered by customers.

The OICR, which as of this spring had seven Illumina Genome Analyzers and seven Applied Biosystems SOLiD sequencers, plans to use the Helicos instrument to characterize cancer samples.

"We are currently exploring its capabilities for both RNA and DNA applications," John McPherson, OICR's director of cancer genomics, told In Sequence via e-mail. "It will be a while before we have enough data to see how it complements or supplants applications on the SOLiD or GAIIx."

"We hope to use this technology for the unbiased and comprehensive characterization of tumor samples to ultimately lead to discoveries that have a clinical impact," said Tom Hudson, president and scientific director of the OICR, in a statement.

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