A new cancer study is using the latest genome sequencing technology to bring a unified molecular profiling approach that matches cancer patients with the experimental therapy that is appropriate for their condition.
The study, called the Ontario-wide Cancer Targeted Nucleic Acid Evaluation (OCTANE), will create a provide-wide database of participating patients’ genomic and clinical data, according to the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). The data will be used to identify approved treatments and enrol patients in experimental targeted therapies being evaluated through clinical trials. The data sharing will also be used to develop future treatments and research studies.
OCTANE is now open at five Ontario cancer centres: Juravinski Cancer Centre (Hamilton), Kingston Health Sciences Centre, London Health Sciences Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM) (Toronto) and The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre.
The study is open to patients already being treated for advanced solid tumours at one of the participating study sites. Candidates for the study must have undergone no more than two previous attempts at treating their cancer and who meet the other criteria for entry into the study.
“Access to this experimental treatment through the clinical trial has so far given me three extra years,” said one cancer patient who was identified only as Janet. “I was very happy to hear that more patients in Ontario may have an experience like mine through OCTANE and the access to genomic sequencing it provides.”
Janet has colon cancer. She participated in a clinical trial at PM and was matched to an experimental drug based on her cancer’s genomic profile.
Studies such as Janet’s, and OCTANE, provide researchers with information about genomic profiling that may help other patients in the future, according to OICR.
“This initiative shows how Ontario’s cancer research community is working together to advance innovative technologies and concepts into the clinic to benefit patients,” said Dr. Lincoln Stein, head of adaptive oncology at OICR.
This study helps facilitate the selection of the best treatment option for participants should they require it following standard therapies, said Dr. Philippe Bedard, a medical oncologist at PM.
“By bringing more genomic sequencing to the clinic we are empowering patients and clinicians through the information we provide,” Bedard, a co-principal investigator of the OCTANE study, said. “In addition, the establishment of a resource of patient samples and information will accelerate the development of new clinical tools that are essential to adapting treatment to the specifics of a tumour.”
The resource created by the collection of blood and tissue samples from study participants can be used to help scientists develop the next generation of genomic biomarkers.
Biomarkers are measurable biological indicators within the body that can be used to diagnose a disease, assess its state and/or measure the effects of treatment. They form the foundation of clinical tests that provide doctors with important information about normal or disease states.
A selection of OCTANE participant samples will undergo additional analysis at the PM-OICR Translational Genomics Laboratory. The laboratory i a new advanced research facility established to expand the use of genomics and other forms of molecular profiling in the clinic.
Insights from analyses conducted on these samples will be provided to researchers at the five OCTANE study sites to inform the development of future clinical trials.