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ORIEN Cancer Initiative, HudsonAlpha collaborate on personalized cancer therapies

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), an alliance of cancer centers throughout the U.S., and HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology, a nonprofit research institute, have announced a new collaboration to advance cancer research and care. Under the agreement, HudsonAlpha will provide genomic sequencing services for the ORIEN Avatar Research Program. The program allows the nation’s leading cancer centers to optimize and enable novel treatments and clinical trials, which could have the potential to impact millions of patients worldwide.

Through the agreement, HudsonAlpha will provide DNA sequences for 20,000 patient samples, tumor and non-tumor, by 2019. Their team will perform whole exome sequencing and RNA sequencing to learn more about the genetic makeup of cancerous tumors.

The ORIEN Avatar Research Program is a first-of-its kind collaboration that brings together patients, physicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies to speed clinical development and discovery of treatments for advanced-stage cancers. It is an integral part of ORIEN, a national research partnership among 13 of the top cancer care institutions in the U.S. Together, ORIEN institutions have constructed the world’s largest cancer database, with more than 140,000 patients committing to lifetime study through ORIEN’s Total Cancer Care Protocol. By studying the patient—and not just the cancer—researchers can better understand the disease and how to best treat it.

HudsonAlpha’s Genomic Service Laboratory will provide DNA sequencing services to identify the genetic disturbances and mutations of each patient’s cancer. Understanding the genetic makeup of a tumor, as well as the unique genetic profile of each patient can provide researchers at ORIEN member institutions and ORIEN Avatar pharmaceutical partners with valuable data to develop targeted therapies and launch new clinical trials.

“This unique program combines capabilities from leading cancer institutions across the U.S. in an effort to dramatically improve patient care and outcomes,” said Shawn Levy, Ph.D., director of the Genomic Services Laboratory. “We are honored to participate in this collaboration and look forward to helping make precision-based therapies a reality for more patients.”  

Health informatics solution company M2Gen is leading the ORIEN Avatar Research Program and says working with HudsonAlpha will help accelerate the discovery and delivery of personalized medicine.

“The ORIEN Avatar Research Program represents a collaborative space within the healthcare community to drive new discoveries and shorten clinical development timelines by proactively matching patients to trials. The sequencing capabilities and expertise of HudsonAlpha will help accelerate the process, creating more options for patients and a more effective means to drive the development of life-saving treatments,” said William S. Dalton, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of M2Gen, which manages ORIEN and the Total Cancer Care Protocol and database. 

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