Posts (130)

Jun 27, 2016 · Mayo Clinic Introduces Precision Medicine in Psychiatry

Precision Psychiatry

The right drug at the right dose at the right time. Faithful readers of the Center for Individualized Medicine blog already know we’re talking again about pharmacogenomics, or PGx. As we’ve explored in previous posts, these “right” goals drive pharmacogenomics — how genetics influence a person’s response to medications.

But can pharmacogenomics and precision medicine improve our treatment of mental health? A group of researchers at Mayo Clinic, working with the support of the Center for Individualized Medicine, think so. In the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, they are highlighting the potential merits of using pharmacogenomics and precision medicine in prescribing antidepressants.

Dr. Wayne Nicholson

Dr. Wayne Nicholson

“This approach reveals a unique opportunity to apply precision medicine to psychiatry. The Pharmacogenomics Task Force has developed important educational resources that are delivered to physicians at the point-of-care. These resources will assist them in prescribing the most effective drug to meet the individual needs of the patient,” says Wayne Nicholson, M.D., Pharm.D., chair, Pharmacogenomics Task Force.

In a recent population-based drug prescription study of 142,377 Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, antidepressants were identified as the second most commonly prescribed drug class. And if you’ve lived through a few Minnesota winters, you would understand why people turn to Prozac for a little help.

Prozac, as the drug fluoxetine is more commonly known, has improved the lives of millions of people — and not just in Minnesota.  Eleven percent of Americans 12 years and older have been prescribed antidepressant medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But fluoxetine and other similar drugs are metabolized, at least in part, by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzyme 2D6 (CYP2D6). People with multiple copies of the CYP2D6 gene may be rapid metabolizers of some drugs and may not receive the desired benefits at the usual drug dose. Conversely, some people have few functional CYP2D6 genes.  They may be slow metabolizers, causing drug levels to exceed the therapeutic range.

Dr. Mark Frye

Dr. Mark Frye

Mark Frye, M.D., department chair of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic, recognizes there is increasing interest in individualizing treatment selection for more than 20 treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for major depressive disorders. By doing so, physicians may be able to provide greater precision to pharmacotherapy recommendations for individual patients beyond the large-scale, clinical trials evidence base.

“The medical community continues to recognize that genetic variation may contribute to disparate patient reactions to drugs,” Dr. Frye says. “For example, some may experience adverse side effects, while others respond positively to the same drug.”

He says the different responses to pharmacotherapy provide a unique opportunity to develop pharmacogenetic guidelines for psychiatry.

The Pharmacogenomics Task Force at Mayo Clinic has implemented decision-support guidelines to provide clinicians with up-to-date information on a patient’s genotype and subsequent recommendations. For example, when prescribing fluoxetine — remember that’s Prozac — paroxetine, or venlafaxine to a patient who is a known poor metabolizer of CYP2D6 or prescribing citalopram or escitalopram to a patient who is a known poor metabolizer of CYP2C19, another gene with enzymes that metabolize selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, an alert will appear on the computerized physician order entry system.

The drug-gene alert will inform the clinician that, in the absence of clear FDA guidelines for dose adjustment, an alternative medication that is metabolized by another enzyme should be considered.

The Center for Individualized Medicine’s Education Program has also worked at linking the decision-support guidelines to the web-based Ask Mayo Expert. There, educational material is provided to the clinician to provide further information about specific genotypes, drugs, or decision-support tools.

Dr. Frye explains that using the electronic health record along with genetic testing results has the potential to further enable prescribers the ability to individualize treatment for their patients taking antidepressants.

Dr. Mark Frye, a professor of Psychiatry at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., provides clinicians with an insight for the real and potential benefits of precision medicine in patients with psychiatric conditions.

Other authors of this study, all of Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Malik Nassan, M.B.B.S.
  • Wayne Nicholson, M.D., Pharm.D.
  • Michelle Elliott, M.D.
  • Carolyn Rohrer Vitek
  • John Black, M.D.

 

Jun 22, 2016 · National Institutes of Health Chooses Mayo Clinic for Biobank, But What Is a Biobank?

biobank montage 2

On May 26, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Mayo Clinic $142 million over five years to serve as home for the 1-million-person Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) biobank.

Precision Medicine Defined: Precision, or personalized medicine, is a model of care that customizes medical treatment to each individual. To illuminate differences and similarities in health all the way down to the level of an individual patient, researchers need to link data from a variety of sources. Some of those sources are physical, such as blood or urine samples, cells, tissues or organs removed in medical procedures. And some, such as electronic health records, mobile health data, and vital signs, are informational.

Biospecimen Processing Technician Mimi Iyorbo inspects a rack of samples ready for storage in the Mayo Clinic robotic freezer.

Biospecimen Processing Technician Mimi Iyorbo inspects a rack of samples ready for storage in the Mayo Clinic robotic freezer.

Typically, these data are spread out among different facilities and within different software or databases. Collecting and standardizing the information can slow down the research process.

The answer? A biobank.

Biobanking: A biobank is a facility designed to safely and privately hold health information and keep biological samples in optimal condition to enable research. For the Precision Medicine Initiative biobank, Mayo Clinic will store more than 35 million physical, or biological, samples expected to be gathered, and provide efficient, safe and privacy-protected methods for researchers to analyze these data.

Mayo Clinic’s Biobanks: Mayo Clinic’s biobanks consist of both targeted collections that focus on a single disease, such as bipolar disorder, and a general population collection consisting primarily of Mayo Clinic patients. The Mayo Clinic Biobank has served as a research resource for several years and has infrastructure in place to quickly implement the policies and procedures associated with this initiative.

Dr. Mine Cicek

Dr. Mine Cicek

The PMI Biobank: The PMI samples will be collected from volunteers across the U.S., and participants will have access to their personal data as well as summarized data from across the group. These samples will be cataloged and stored in automated, secured freezer complexes, primarily at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, but also at the Mayo Clinic biospecimen laboratory in Jacksonville, Florida. The NIH award will be administered by Mine Cicek, Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Biospecimen Accessioning and Processing Core Laboratory, and Stephen Thibodeau, Ph.D., co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Biorepositories Program, the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director of the Biorepositories Program for the Center for Individualized Medicine, and the William H. Donner Professor.

Dr. Cicek notes that the highly automated Mayo Clinic Bioservices facility allows for efficient and accurate handling and processing of specimens, which will include robotic systems to separate, label and store biospecimen components, including automated DNA extraction.

Dr. Stephen Thibodeau

Dr. Stephen Thibodeau

Dr. Thibodeau says, “We are delighted that our state-of-the-art facilities will serve as an active, vital research resource for the 1-million-participant biospecimen collection. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is committed to embracing the potential of precision medicine to improve health care.”

Call the Expert: For more information on the NIH biobank, the Mayo Biobank or biobanking in general, Dr. Thibodeau is available to speak with reporters. Contact: Colette Gallagher, 507-284-5005.

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

Jun 17, 2016 · Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics Conference and the Minnesota Neurofibromatosis Symposium

Upper Midwest Conference1

The fifth annual Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics Conference and the Minnesota Neurofibromatosis Symposium will be held October 7, 2016, in Rochester, Minnesota. This is an opportunity to build on the understanding of the current research related to the diagnosis and management of genetic diseases, and a chance to network and share clinical research with colleagues.

Dr. Louanne Hudgins

Dr. Louanne Hudgins

The Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics Conference provides genetics professionals with the opportunity to learn how genetics and genomics are being integrated into medical or clinical practice. The day-long meeting has integrated a high caliber scientific program that will present the latest developments and research in clinical genetics with a collegial atmosphere perfect for networking and sharing of information.

Keynote speakers at the conference are:
Louanne Hudgins, M.D.
Chief, Division of Medical Genetics, Stanford University
Director, Perinatal Genetics, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Marshall Summar, M.D.
Chief, Genetics and Metabolism
Margaret O’Malley Professor of Genetic Medicine
Children’s National Medical Center
Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington School of Medicine

Dr. Marshall Summar

Dr. Marshall Summar

Submit Abstract for Plenary Presentation
The conference is also looking for speakers to present their genetic research in the plenary session. The plenary presentations are an integral part of the Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics conference. The review committee is looking for the best and brightest research in clinical genetics. Key to this year’s speaker selection is the innovative use of research, and also how each speaker plans to outline the research’s application into practice.

The deadline for abstract submission is July 31, 2016.

More information is available at the conference website.

Minnesota Neurofibromatosis Symposium is the results of a research collaboration between Mayo Clinic, Children’s Tumor Foundation, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota. Each year they come together for an educational opportunity to provide information about advances in neurofibromatosis research and offer practical advice on issues facing patients and families living with the disorder.

Neurofibromatosis is a set of complex genetic disorders that affects almost every organ system, causing tumors to grow on nerves in the brain and throughout the body. While half of all affected people inherit the disorder, new cases can arise spontaneously through mutations in the neurofibromatosis genes.

FinalREGISTERNOWPCARDThe Center for Individualized Medicine will be hosting a reception Thursday night, October 6, prior to the conference.  The Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics Conference and the Minnesota Neurofibromatosis Symposium is part of the Individualizing Medicine Conference 2016: Advancing Care Through Genomics.

The Individualizing Medicine Conference runs October 5–6, in Rochester, and focuses on how to translate the promise of genomic medicine to your practice. Expert speakers, focused breakout sessions, case studies and a poster session provide opportunities to discover and discuss emerging topics in applied genomics.

Discounts are available to attendees who attend both conferences.

To register for Individualizing Medicine Conference 2016, and/or the Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics Conference and the Minnesota Neurofibromatosis Symposium, please visit the conference registration page.

Jun 14, 2016 · Abstract Deadline Fast Approaching for Individualizing Medicine Conference 2016

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Okay, you’re probably still noodling out the final details of that great idea you have for the poster session on epigenomics or pharmacogenomics or microbiome.  Or did the big news about Mayo Clinic and the Center for Individualized Medicine being selected by the National Institutes of Health to serve as the national Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program biobank send you off on a new angle for your abstract?

Well, the good news is there’s still time to submit that abstract for Individualizing Medicine 2016: Advancing Care Through Genomics. The deadline for abstract submissions is June 20, 2016.

Poster Session2-WPEveryone who regularly attends medical conferences understands the value of the poster sessions. Great ideas or the next generation of breakthrough discoveries often are presented at the poster sessions.

Submissions are encouraged on the following topics related to personalized or precision medicine, but are not limited to:

  • Bioethics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cancer genomics
  • Cost-effectiveness & outcomes
  • Epigenomics
  • Genomic education
  • Genomic information in the electronic medical record
  • Genomic lab testing
  • Microbiome
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Rare & undiagnosed disorders
  • Targeted therapy

Poster opportunities are available during the main conference, as well as the Upper Midwest Clinical Genetics conference, Epigenomics and Microbiome Sessions on Friday, October 7.

Abstract submissions are reviewed independently.

Panel 4Submission Deadlines

  • Conference Abstracts: June 20, 2016
  • Microbiome Focus Session Abstracts: September 16, 2016
  • Epigenomics Focus Session Abstracts: September 16, 2016

 So stop noodling over that great idea and submit your abstract now!

In addition to a great poster session, the Individualizing Medicine 2016: Advancing Care Through Genomics has a lineup of experts to talk about the latest breakthroughs in genomic medicine. Hosted by the Center for Individualized Medicine, the fifth annual state-of-the-art genomics conference takes place October 5–6, in Rochester, Minnesota, home of Mayo Clinic.

Also, joining us at the conference will be Kathy Hudson, deputy director for Science, Outreach and Policy at the National Institutes of Health, and Teri Manolio, M.D., Ph.D., director, Division of Genomic Medicine, National Human Genome Research Institute.

The conference focuses on how to translate the promise of genomic medicine into better patient care. Experts in the field will offer updates on cancer research, on the latest discoveries in pharmacogenomics and what is happening with the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative.

Focused breakout sessions and case studies will go into the details of research and their application to every day care in areas such as epigenomics, the microbiome, biomarker discovery, and more.  Experts in the field will be on hand to share their insights and experience.

For a complete schedule, visit the conference website.

For a complete list of speakers, visit the conference speakers.

Save $100 on conference fees by registering now. Early bird registration runs through June 30. 

Follow conference developments on the Center for Individualized Medicine blog; on Facebook; or on Twitter, at @MayoClinicCIM and #CIMCon16.

You may also learn more about the conference on our video blog series, “Story by Story.”  Captured on the Gonda elevator by our mad videographer, Individualizing Medicine Conference Director Caer Vitek talks about this year’s conference, what’s new, what’s exciting and why it’s the state-of-art genomics conference you can’t miss.

 

Jun 10, 2016 · Mayo Clinic Grows Research Footprint to Fuel Urban Bioresearch Campus

Discovery-Square-Aerial-illustration-16x9

Discovery Square will more than double Mayo’s current footprint to deliver new cures, accelerated through collaboration and also promote business growth

Two weeks ago, we blogged about how Mayo Clinic and the Center for Individualized Medicine had been selected by the National Institutes of Health to serve as the national Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program biobankStephen Thibodeau, Ph.D., the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director, Mayo Clinic Biorepositories Program, Center for Individualized Medicine, and co-principal investigator of the PMI biobank award, summarized the importance of this announcement in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “This is a big deal,” Dr. Thibodeau said.

Dr. Stephen Thibodeau

Dr. Stephen Thibodeau

Now, Mayo Clinic has announced another really big deal that will impact the medical community and all of us conducting life-changing biomedical research.

At the 2016 BIO International Convention in San Francisco, Mayo Clinic announced this week the next major step in realizing Destination Medical Center’s (DMC) vision of creating Discovery Square, a first-of-its-kind urban bioresearch campus that brings together renowned physicians, researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs to address unmet patient needs in an ultramodern setting for science innovation.

Mayo Clinic is initiating a process to identify a strategic real estate development firm to expand its Rochester, Minnesota, campus by building more than 2 million square feet on Mayo Clinic-owned land as research, commercial and product development space over the next 20 years. This is in addition to Mayo’s current research footprint in Rochester of 1.3 million square feet. Discovery Square, which will include Mayo and other private businesses, is a key milestone for DMC, the largest public-private partnership in Minnesota state history, and one of the largest economic development initiatives in the U.S.

Dr. John Noseworthy

Dr. John Noseworthy

“At Mayo Clinic, we feel that we have a responsibility to bring forward discoveries that will deliver hope and better health to people around the world,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO. “There is no better way to stimulate innovation than through collaboration, which has been part of the Mayo culture for over 150 years. We’re looking forward to welcoming businesses, medical innovators and researchers from around the world to Discovery Square who will work together to accelerate advances in bioscience, research, education and technology for health and wellness.”

Mayo Clinic is unique in its research model of collaboration, which has roots as far back as its founders, the Doctors Mayo. In 2015, Mayo started 2,723 new human studies and the same volume is projected this year. Mayo research was published in 7,305 peer-reviewed journals. Mayo Clinic’s total research budget in 2015 was more than $662 million. This total includes $281 million of Mayo-based funding and $381 million of external funding.

Dr. Gregory Gores

Dr. Gregory Gores

“World-leading research drives everything we do for patients at Mayo Clinic,” says Gregory Gores, M.D., executive dean for Research at Mayo Clinic. “From providing the best individualized care to addressing the world’s most challenging health care problems, Mayo researchers relentlessly pursue discoveries that benefit people today and for generations to come. The addition of Discovery Square will extend that commitment by creating a new discovery science platform for innovators to collaborate with Mayo Clinic.”

“Discovery Square is at the heart of the DMC mission to make Rochester America’s city for health,” says Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith, DMC Corporation board chair. “Mayo Clinic’s decision, announced today, to invest in new bioscience innovation, will encourage additional national and international investment in Rochester. It will spur job creation and diversify the economy in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota. This is exactly the kind of transformational project we created the DMC to accomplish, and it represents significant progress toward our goal of transforming Rochester and Minnesota into world-class destinations for health and wellness.”

With construction slated to begin in 2017, the first of several Discovery Square buildings is anticipated to be completed within two years. Discovery Square is a six-square-block area that is one of six DMC sub-districts in the DMC Development Plan catalyzing densely organized, mixed-use neighborhoods made up of life science businesses, new start-ups and residential options anchored by signature spaces.

 

Jun 7, 2016 · Understanding Your Genome, Personalizing Your Medicine

Jacksonville Panorama

Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and Illumina Team Up to Bring Understand Your Genome to Public

There is nothing more unique to an individual than his or her genome.  Not a person’s fingerprints, not a retina scan. Even though we share over 99 percent of our DNA with other humans, it’s that small percentage of variations that differentiate us from our friends and neighbors, from even our closest relative. It is our genome that makes us truly unique.

Harvard geneticist Robert Green has called the genome “the Book of Life.” Up until recently, however, people haven’t been able to read that book.  But now they can.  With technology improving and costs dropping, getting a copy of your personal Book of Life is becoming available to more and more people.

UYG Panel 1The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine in Florida and Illumina are teaming up to make this opportunity available to the public — before they get sick, before they have their genome sequenced to treat a rare cancer or to end a long diagnostic odyssey. The Center for Individualized Medicine and Illumina are hosting an Understand Your Genome event to be held on October 15, 2016, in Jacksonville, Florida.

The goal of the Understand Your Genome symposium is to facilitate the adoption of clinical whole genome sequencing as a means to advance human health through responsible, targeted educational outreach. As an attendee, you will not only experience a highly relevant, deeply personal, and richly educational program, but will also be a part of an exciting movement that is pioneering the application of genomics-based healthcare into mainstream clinical practice.

Understand Your Genome is designed for current and future leaders who seek to be among the first to understand and leverage genomics to aid in the management of both illness and wellness.

Understand Your Genome provides a unique, hands-on opportunity to learn about the information encoded within your own genome. This educational symposium is designed to engage individuals to learn about the untapped potential of DNA to improve health care and management. It is a dynamic community of individuals who are paving the way for precision medicine, and a new standard of care.

After having your genome sequenced in the CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited Illumina Clinical Services Laboratory, your physician will receive your clinical reports with interpretation for variations across more than 1,200 medical conditions, and response to 16 different drugs. We are happy to customize your results to remove any information you are not interested in exploring. Additionally, you will be able to access your individual whole genome data using our MyGenome visualization tools.

Registration to the conference includes attendance at the one-day UYG symposium at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville on October 15. Participants will also receive the TruGenome™ Predisposition Screen, clinical reports of the findings, and a visual display of their genomic information on the MyGenome application. Mayo Clinic experts will share how Mayo is translating this technology into the clinical practice for patients.

Registration closes July 3, 2016 so please register early.

Samples must be received at Illumina by July 15, 2016 or your registration will be cancelled and your registration fee will be refunded.

More Information
If you have questions about the symposium, please contact Lindsay Fogel.

Fee
Sequencing and Conference: $3,100
(Pricing includes $2,900 for the TruGenome™ Predisposition Screen plus a $200 conference registration fee)

When
October 15, 2016

Where
Mayo Clinic
Kinne Auditorium
4500 San Pablo Road
Jacksonville, Florida 32224

Jun 3, 2016 · Leading the Way with the 100,000 Genome Project

Panel 7

England has always been a leader in genomic research and precision medicine.

Working at Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, England, American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA in the 1950s, with the help of some crucially important X-ray crystallography work by English researchers Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins. One of the most significant scientific findings of the 20th century, this discovery laid the groundwork for much of the research into the genome for the next fifty years.

 Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize for discovering the double helix structure of DNA, and it was a British double Nobel Prize winning scientist, Fredrick Sanger, who discovered how to sequence it.

 Now England is doing it again. 

Mark Caulfield

Dr. Mark Caulfield

Two years before President Barack Obama announced his Precision Medicine Initiative, England took the lead on sequencing the genome. In late 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the formation of Genomics England and the 100,000 Genomes Project, to bring the predicted benefits of genomics to patients. With plans to sequence 100,000 whole genomes by 2017, the project will focus on patients with a rare disease and their families, and patients with cancer.

Genomics England, a company wholly owned and funded by the national Department of Health, has four main goals: to create an ethical and transparent program based on consent; to bring benefit to patients and set up a genomic medicine service for the National Health Service; to enable new scientific discovery and medical insights; and to kick start the development of a genomics industry in the United Kingdom.

Now, England is again bringing its experience and expertise across the pond. Mark Caulfield, FMedSci, is chief scientist for Genomics England and charged with delivery of the 100,000 Genomes Project. A recognized leader in genomic research, Dr. Caulfield joins the plenary speaker line-up for Individualizing Medicine 2016: Advancing Care Through Genomics. Hosted by the Center for Individualized Medicine, the fifth annual genomics conference takes place October 5–6, in Rochester, Minn., home of Mayo Clinic.

“It takes an average of 17 years for discoveries to translate from the bench into having a health-care impact,” Dr. Caulfield said, in an interview with Nature.  “We are seeking to do this in three years. You maximize your opportunity to do that if you juxtapose the health system and the researchers. For people who fund research, this is a hugely effective and efficient way of doing it.

“So I see this as a platform not just for a unique transformation of the UK health-care system,” he added, “but as a model for health-care systems around the world.”

FinalREGISTERNOWPCARDThat model — with variations, of course; after all, we are Americans — has now been launched in the U.S. In 2015, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative that includes two components: one focusing on cancer genomics and treatment, and one focusing on generating data on long-term health and disease in a national cohort research study of one million or more people. The National Institutes of Health recently selected Mayo Clinic to serve as the national Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program biobank.

Also, joining us at the conference will be Kathy Hudson, deputy director for Science, Outreach and Policy at the National Institutes of Health, and Teri Manolio, M.D., Ph.D., director, Division of Genomic Medicine, National Human Genome Research Institute.

The conference focuses on how to translate the promise of genomic medicine into better patient care. Experts in the field will offer updates on cancer research, on the latest discoveries in pharmacogenomics and what is happening with the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative.

Focused breakout sessions and case studies will go into the details of research and their application to every day care in areas such as epigenomics, the microbiome, biomarker discovery, and more.  Experts in the field will be on hand to share their insights and experience.

For a complete schedule, visit the conference website.

For a complete list of speakers, visit the conference speakers.

Save $100 on conference fees by registering now. Early bird registration runs through June 30. 

Follow conference developments on the Center for Individualized Medicine blog; on Facebook; or on Twitter, at @MayoClinicCIM and #CIMCon16.

You may also learn more about the conference on our video blog series, “Story by Story.”  Captured on the Gonda elevator by our mad videographer, Individualizing Medicine Conference Director Caer Vitek talks about this year’s conference, what’s new, what’s exciting and why it’s the state-of-art genomics conference you can’t miss.

Jun 1, 2016 · Researchers Identify Best Drug Therapy for Rare, Aggressive, Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic_Cancer_16x9

Genomic research and the application of individualized medicine are wide-spread throughout Mayo Clinic. The ability to collaborate in teams helps drive discovery, translation and application of medical breakthroughs. We are unrelenting in our search for new solutions. Right now, there are over 11,000 human studies under way across Mayo for devastating health conditions, and many of them involve genomic research.  As you might imagine, not all of them are conducted through the Center for Individualized Medicine, but as regular readers of the blog know, we like to highlight from time to time the great work some of our colleagues are doing in genomic medicine.  Here is news about the discovery of a new drug therapy for pancreatic cancer.

* * *

Researchers Identify Best Drug Therapy for Rare, Aggressive, Pancreatic Cancer

Each year, about 200 to 400 Americans develop pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma, a rare form of pancreatic cancer that has no effective standard of care. A study involving researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida and Rochester campuses has found that the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin is effective in stopping the growth of this cancer. Their discoveries were published May 10 in the Journal of Translation Medicine.

Dr. John Copland

Dr. John Copland

Researchers used tumor tissue biopsied from a patient whose cancer spread to the liver to develop the first patient-derived tumor xenograft, or avatar mouse model, which enabled testing of a number of drugs.

Oxaliplatin stopped tumor growth after only three treatments, and the tumor did not grow back after treatment ended.

“We showed the tumor growth was inhibited by a number of drugs, but oxaliplatin was the standout drug,” says John Copland, III, Ph.D., a cancer biologist and the study’s principal investigator. “Our hope is that information gleaned from our study will provide new options for patients diagnosed with this rare form of cancer.”

Patients live an average 49 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma. They only live about 14 months once the cancer has spread, or metastasized.

Oxaliplatin inserts itself into DNA, which results in the death of multiplying tumor cells — particularly if those cells carry a DNA repair mutation. The study found that the patient tumor used in this research had a mutation in the DNA repair gene BRCA-2.

Dr. Gerardo Colon-Otero

Dr. Gerardo Colon-Otero

This indicates physicians may want to test patients with pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma for DNA repair gene mutations to provide a more highly individualized medicine approach toward treatment.

“This may be a breakthrough for this rare cancer,” says Gerardo Colon-Otero, M.D., an oncologist and study co-author. “Genomic testing for DNA mutations can now be performed, and, if the results are positive, those patients are candidates for platinum-based drugs, such as oxaliplatin.”

Lead author Jason Hall, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic research fellow, also showed that the tumor began to re-express markers of normal pancreas tissue.

“This is most likely the explanation for the very prolonged response,” says Dr. Hall. “Perhaps we should explore more chemotherapy drugs that can kill cancer cells as well as revert them to a more normal state.”

Dr. John Copland discusses the best drug therapy for rare, aggressive pancreatic cancer.

Additional Mayo Clinic study co-authors are:

Additional co-authors are:

  • Adam C. Mathias, B.S., of Delta Synthetic Co., Ltd.
  • Louis K. Dawson, B.S.; William F. Durham, M.S.; Robert J. Mullin, Ph.D.; Aidan J. Synnott, Ph.D.; Daniel L. Small, Ph.D.; Julia Schüler, Ph.D. ,Kenneth A. Meshaw, Ph.D.; of Charles Rivers Discovery Services
  • Daniel von Hoff, M.D., of TGen

The study was supported in part by National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Grant R01CA136665 (Dr. Copland) and a generous gift from a grant for Rare Cancers from Dr. Ellis W. and Dona Brunton (Dr. Colon-Otero and Dr. Copland).

Competing interests:

  • Copland and Marlow received royalties from the patient-derived tumor xenograft model licensed to Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.
  • Mathias was an employee of Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., and now is employed by Delta Synthetic Co., Ltd.

 

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