Clinical OMICS

JUL-AUG 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 8 of 51 July/August 2019 Clinical OMICs 7 News Disrupted Microbiome Aids Breast Cancer Spread Research from the University of Virginia Cancer Center has found that disrupting the microbiome of mice caused hor- mone receptor-positive breast cancer to become more aggressive and spread more quickly. Roughly 65% of breast cancers are hor- mone receptor positive, meaning their growth is fueled by either estrogen or progesterone. While hormone therapy is very effective for treating these types of cancers, predicting whether they will me- tastasize is a significant challenge and is primarily predicted based on the clinical presentation at the time of diagnosis. Investigator Melanie Rutkowski, Ph.D., of UVA's department of microbiology, im- munology, and cancer biology said early metastasis is affected by a variety of fac- tors. "One of them is having a high level of [immune] cells called macrophages pres- ent within the tissue. There have also been studies that have demonstrated that in- creased amounts of the structural protein collagen in the tissue and tumor also lead to increased breast cancer metastasis." Having an unhealthy microbiome prior to the development of breast cancer in- creased both. "Disrupting the microbiome resulted in long-term inflammation within the tissue and the tumor environment," Rutkowski noted. "These findings suggest that hav- ing an unhealthy microbiome, and the changes that occur within the tissue that are related to an unhealthy microbiome, may be early predictors of invasive or met- astatic breast cancer." n Melanie Rutkowski, Ph.D., University of Virginia Invitae Expands NIP Reach with Singular Bio Acquisition Invitae Corp. announced in mid-June it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Singular Bio, a company developing single molecule detection technology that enables lower costs and expanded use of high-quality, cell-free, nucleic acid analysis, initially for application in non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS). Invitae introduced its NIPS services earlier this year and rolled out reduced patient-pay pricing of $99. The acquisition of Singular Bio is intended to continue the company's push to drive down testing costs for pregnant women. "Singular Bio is building an approach to non-invasive prenatal screening with the po- tential to achieve the cost savings necessary to provide more women with genetic infor- mation to support a healthy pregnancy. We believe this approach could eventually be applied to other areas of genetic testing," said Sean George, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Invitae. "The addition of Singular Bio's technology will further strengthen our ability to bring genetic information into mainstream medical care." n Seven Bridges to Manage Data for UK Biobank's WGS Vanguard Phase Seven Bridges has been selected by the UK Biobank to process and analyze the full ge- nomes of 50,000 volunteers that are part of the vanguard phase of the project. The initiative by UK Biobank was an- nounced in early April 2018 along with £30 million ($38.1 million) of funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC). Sequenc- ing of the first 50,000 genomes will wrap up this year and is intended to provide information that will help shape the main phase of the project—the sequencing of an additional 450,000 whole-genomes over the next several years. "Given the size and complexity of data being managed as part of the vanguard phase, Seven Bridges has been selected for their bioinformatics and scientific exper- tise," Dr. Mark Effingham, UK Biobank chief operating officer, said in a press release. n Topalov / iStock / Getty Images

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