Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2017

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 44 of 47 March/April 2017 Clinical OMICs 43 Parker Institute Taps Epinomics for Epigenetic Testing Two of the hottest trends in biotechnology—cancer immu- notherapy and epigenetics— unite as the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford University teams up with Bay Area company Epi- nomics . Together they aim to improve patient response to cancer immunotherapy using biomarkers defined by Epinom- ics' immune analytics platform . "I know we will benefit greatly from the expertise Epi- nomics has in the epigenomics field, including their analytics platform that is advancing therapeutic development efforts and discovery of biomarkers for use in clinical care for immuno-oncology applications,"said Crystal Mackall, M.D., director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford, in a pre- pared statement . Epinomics' technology probes the whole epigenome, producing richer data from a single reaction in less time and with fewer cells than competing methods . Paul Giresi, Ph . D . , Howard Chang, M . D . , Ph . D . , and William Greenleaf, Ph . D . , who founded the company with Fergus Chan, in 2013, developed the founda- tion for their epigenomics platform at Stanford University—a technique called ATAC-Seq (Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin with high-throughput Sequencing) . ATAC-Seq employs a transposase enzyme and downstream data analytics to identify open chromatin configurations that make DNA accessible for transcription and subsequent gene expression . The ability to decode the epigenome opened the gateway for Epinomics' data analytics platform, which has enabled the identification of immune-related bio- markers that could help predict patient response to different immunotherapies. For autologous cell-based immunotherapies, "there [are] a number of different tests required to figure out what you are really putting back into the patient's body, but each test only measures one metric . We can use a single, standardized approach to measure multiple metrics before releasing the product," explained Dr. Chan. In addition to establishing effective release criteria, the collaboration will also investigate how to use biomarkers to guide dosage, predict effectiveness, and monitor response in individual patients . Dr . Chan likened Epinomics' technology to "a GPS to guide personalized treat- ment," and, with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford, cancer immunotherapy is the first area of the epigenomic landscape that these cartographers intend to explore . —Meghaan Ferreira iHope Network Created to Provide Sequencing Services to Underserved Patients Illumina, along with member institutions Genome.One, GeneDx, HudsonAlpha, and their affiliate healthcare partners, have created of the iHope Network, a consortium committed to providing clin- ical whole-genome sequencing (cWGS) to underserved families. The goal of the iHope Network is to "end years-long diagnostic odysseys" of patients who have undergone exten- sive—and inconclusive—testing, surger- ies and procedures, via the application of whole-genome sequencing. The iHope Network members have committed to a minimum philanthropic donation of 10 whole genome tests per year for 10 patients. Member organizations have also agreed to donate the variants iden- tified through iHope to public databases. "We've seen firsthand how a diagno- sis can help families get a clearer under- standing of the journey ahead," said Marcel Dinger, CEO of Genome.One, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "We're very pleased to be part of the iHope Network that will help people who are currently unable to access clinical whole-genome sequencing and help to raise awareness about the value of WGS for rare and genetic disease." n Squaredpixels / Getty Images royaltystockphoto / Getty Images

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