GeneKey Offers Genomic Analysis for Individual Cancer Patients

Article ID: 583767

Released: 14-Dec-2011 9:00 AM EST

Source Newsroom: GeneKey

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Newswise — NEWTON, MA - GeneKey Corp., announced today that it has launched a personalized medicine service that empowers cancer patients and their oncology teams to develop treatment strategies based on insight into the biology of individual tumors. Differences in biology explain why one patient responds to a given treatment while another does not, even when both patients appear to have the same type of cancer.

The company has developed patented methods to analyze cancerous tissue at the genomic level. This data is used to identify potential treatments – including drugs marketed for other diseases – that target the mechanisms that have gone awry in a patient’s tumor.

“Our services provide cancer patients and their oncologists with insight into the specific biological drivers of their disease,” explains GeneKey President Raphael Lehrer, PhD. “This information can help identify potential treatments for a patient, including treatments that would not be considered otherwise.”

The company uses state-of-the-art genomic technologies to examine biopsies of a patient’s tumor, scanning the entire genome (DNA and RNA) to detect problems that cause the patient’s disease to become life-threatening. “GeneKey’s analysis can identify treatment options from more than 2,000 FDA-approved drugs as well as drugs in clinical trials,” notes Lehrer. “Our strategy takes patients and doctors a step beyond the latest molecular tests and targeted drugs that are reaching the market, into the era of truly personalized cancer treatment.”

When treatments stop working in a cancer patient, many oncologists turn to drugs approved for different cancers, hoping that they may be effective. GeneKey can help doctors make a decision based on real insight into the biological mechanisms underlying an individual patient’s disease.

What if current cancer drugs fail? “Patients fighting cancer today don't have time to wait for new drugs to be developed,” says Lehrer. “What they need to know is whether any drugs that are already on the market for any disease might be effective against their cancer.” This is not idle speculation. Many drugs such as thalidomide, rapamycin and metformin are now being used to treat cancer, transcending their original indications for morning sickness, immune suppression and diabetes. These uses have typically been discovered by serendipity, and there are without doubt many other drugs whose anticancer potential is waiting to be found.

"I can see how GeneKey could make a real difference to help define treatment options for patients with cancer, " says Dr. Antoni Ribas, Director of the University of California Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program Area. "Their approach will allow developing individualized patient treatment strategies in a scientifically rigorous way."

About GeneKey CorporationGeneKey was founded by Raphael Lehrer, PhD. President and Chief Scientist. Before founding GeneKey, Raphael Lehrer directed CollabRx ONE, the personalized oncology research service for CollabRx. Dr. Lehrer was the lead inventor of the methodology pioneered by CollabRx. Previously, Dr. Lehrer was the Executive Director of Strategic Alliances for Gene Logic's Drug Repositioning and Selection Business where he negotiated alliances with pharmaceutical companies to discover new therapeutic uses for their compounds that have failed in late-stage clinical trials. Dr. Lehrer holds a Ph.D. degree in physics from Harvard University, where he was awarded the Maurice Goldhaber Prize for best theoretical physics student.

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