News & Events

Insight Genetics and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Partner to Improve Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

by Insight Genetics
March 03, 2014

Insight Genetics, Inc. is collaborating with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) to enhance how researchers and oncologists classify and treat patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The molecular diagnostics company is working with VICC scientists to identify genetic markers that will help select the targeted therapeutics most effective for each individual TNBC patient.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer in 2014. Many of these cases can be genetically characterized as Estrogen Receptor (ER)-positive, Progesterone Receptor (PR)-positive or HER2-positive. These characterizations are important because they assist clinicians in matching patients with targeted therapeutic options. Breast tumors that do not express genes for any of these three known markers are classified as triple-negative breast cancers. Patients with TNBC currently have limited treatment options and a higher risk of relapse than other forms of the disease.

As part of their research project, Insight Genetics will be collaborating with Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of VICC, and B.F. Byrd Jr., Professor of Oncology, as well as the laboratory group at VICC in a continuation of their work to identify novel genetic markers for TNBC.  Recent work from the Pietenpol laboratory published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation used an algorithm to examine gene expression data from more than 500 TNBC cases and identified up to six distinct sub-types of triple-negative breast cancers. Insight Genetics and Dr. Pietenpol will now focus on identifying novel genetic drivers for these various TNBC sub-types and developing a better understanding of effective treatment options for each. The work is also designed to identify new TNBC biomarkers and develop assays based on these biomarkers.

“We are enthusiastic to be entering into this research collaboration and licensing agreement with Vanderbilt,” said Eric Dahlhauser, Chairman and CEO of Insight Genetics. “Dr. Pietenpol’s work shows tremendous promise for identifying unique treatment options for each molecular sub-type of triple-negative breast cancer. We look forward to working closely with her and her colleagues at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center as we apply our expertise in assay design and commercialization to improve treatment development and selection for this population of cancer patients.”

As part of its licensing agreement with VICC, Insight Genetics obtained exclusive worldwide rights to the patent application PCT/US12/65724 entitled “Markers of the Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and Uses Thereof” that will be used to develop and commercialize molecular assays to determine the TNBC subtypes.

Insight Genetics also received commercial rights to the TNBCtype© software algorithm (Chen et.al. Cancer Informatics 2012:11 147-156), a web-based service that interprets raw data obtained through independent genetic sequencing methods.

Insight Genetics’ agreement with VICC expands the company’s existing portfolio of advanced diagnostic tools to improve the lives of cancer patients, including multiple diagnostic assays for lung and other cancers.

About Insight Genetics

Insight Genetics is dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients through advanced molecular diagnostics that enable precision in cancer care. The company specializes in the discovery, development and commercialization of companion diagnostics that detect specific cancer biomarkers and assist in guiding the effective diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Insight Genetics is ISO 9001:2008 certified and partners with leading academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, clinical reference laboratories, and IVD kit manufacturers to create new standards of care for cancer patients worldwide. Visit www.insightgenetics.com for more information.

About Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Tennessee and 41 in the country to achieve this special distinction. Its 300 faculty members generate more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees more than 6,000 new cancer patients each year. VICC is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance of 23 of the world’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere. Visit www.vicc.org.