Precision Genomics now accepts tissue samples from Maryland patients, facilitating cancer treatments

This 2015 photo shows the Intermountain Precision Genomics lab in St. George, Utah | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —  Intermountain Precision Genomics announced this month that its genomics core laboratory, located in southwest Utah, is now certified to accept tissue samples from cancer patients in Maryland.

On the forefront of personalized medicine, Intermountain Precision Genomics for Cancer is a service of Intermountain Healthcare. The ICG100 test offers genetic sequencing of solid tumors. This in-depth sequencing identifies cancer-causing mutations that may occur in a person’s DNA.

Intermountain Precision Genomics Lab patient Duane Monette, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News
Intermountain Precision Genomics Lab patient Duane Monette, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

We are extending the life and quality of life for late-stage cancer patients throughout the nation and now in Maryland,” program director Jason Gillman said. “Our test identifies more actionable mutations than any other competing test because we focus on the known cancer-causing genes. We detect mutations at 99 percent and our accuracy of identifying false positives or negatives is 100 percent.”

One of the unique services the company provides is that results are reviewed by a board of renowned physicians and scientists. This molecular tumor board discusses the information discovered through sequencing and offers drug recommendations. Precision Genomics may also assist with drug procurement when requested.

“Typically the medications prescribed are oral,” Gillman said. “These targeted drugs are often well tolerated – much more so than infusion drugs (or chemotherapy). Patients feel better and research shows they are not going to the emergency room as frequently.”

Medications targeted at DNA alterations, rather than site-specific cancer treatments, have been shown to be successful in many cases.

For example, Duane Monette, a patient from St. George, received the diagnosis of metastatic cancer of an “unknown primary origin.” Monette’s physician ordered the ICG100 test. Through sequencing the DNA in his tumor, scientists discovered a FGFR3 alteration.

Monette’s physician started him on an oral medication used for bladder or kidney cancer (even though his scans were clear at the time). Months later, a mass discovered on his kidney prompted the removal of one of his kidneys. In this case, surgery was curative.

Proponents of precision medicine believe that treating cancer like a “chronic disease,” likely stopped the cancer from continuing to spread throughout his body.      

“What this genomic testing allows,” said Gillman, “is for patients to live on their own terms with improved quality of life, to be active, and to remain the person that they want to be for significantly longer than projected with traditional treatment.”

Currently, the CLIA and CAP certified genomics lab and ICG100 test averages less than a 14-day turnaround time from the time the sample is received in the laboratory.

For more information about ICG100 testing for late stage cancer or incorporating precision medicine into an oncology practice visit: precisioncancer.org, join the dialog on Facebook (Intermountain Precision Genomics) or follow @precisioncancer on Twitter. Any physician can order The ICG100 test.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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