Press release: Ignyta and the Institut Curie: an innovative collaboration
The alterations of certain genes in DNA may cause the cell to multiply unreasonably, instead of repairing itself or causing its destruction, thus giving rise to tumors. A major challenge in precision medicine oncology is to develop cancer treatments that can stop the growth of these cells, which harbor genetic alterations. The efficacy of one of these treatments, entrectinib (also known as RXDX-101), a TRK, ROS1 and ALK inhibitor, is currently under investigation in a worldwide multi-centric phase 2 clinical trial. The objective: to observe the antitumoral activity of entrectinib in cancer patients with gene fusions of the NTRK1, NTRK2, NTRK3, ROS1 or ALK genes.
Ignyta, a biotechnology company focused on precision medicine in oncology, has chosen the Institut Curie as one of the research centers in France for this clinical trial. The company based its decision on the expertise of the Institut Curie Molecular Tumor Board which can identify patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors carrying NTRK1, NTRK2, NTRK3, ROS1 or ALK gene fusions, and offers them to take part in the clinical trial. The Institut Curie tumor molecular board will screen patients: first, using immunohistochemistry (IHC); and second, for IHC positive patients, using high-throughput RNA sequencing to assess rearrangements in NTRK1, NTRK2, NTRK3, ROS1 and ALK genes. The presence of the latter rearrangements will allow the patients to be treated with entrectinib in the STARTRK-2 trial. On average, 17 patients per month are currently screened at the Institut Curie.
Amaury Martin, Director of the Technology Transfer and Industrial Partnerships Office of the Institut Curie and Director of the Carnot Curie Cancer Institute, welcomes this cooperation: "It illustrates the Institut Curie MC21 strategic plan, to accelerate research from the laboratory to the patient's bed on the model designed and conceived by Marie Curie. In that perspective, the Institut Curie Molecular Tumor Board that can screen genetic alterations and guide patients to the best clinical trial available is a strong asset. This collaboration perfectly fits with the “Institut Carnot” spirit: Research & Innovation for industry”
Professor Christophe Le Tourneau, responsible for early clinical trials and precision medicine at the Institut Curie, will supervise the trial. He has designed and coordinated SHIVA - an innovative clinical trial in which the therapeutic choice was entirely based on the molecular profile of the tumor, independently of tumor histology or localization. “In October 2014, SHIVA initiated the molecular tumor board for adult and pediatric patients at the Institut Curie. This molecular tumor board gathers multidisciplinary experts1 including oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, managers of platforms for molecular analysis, bioinformatics specialists, and biologists. Alterations in key cancer genes are screened to guide patients to appropriate trials within a period compatible with routine clinical practice. Since 2014, we have strongly developed our expertise and this has earned the interest of numerous innovative international companies such Ignyta” explains Pr. Le Tourneau. Institut Curie molecular tumor board operates Next Generation Sequencing and comparative genomic hybridization approaches (CGH array) in addition to immunohistochemistry.
”We are pleased to work with Institut Curie and Pr. Le Tourneau on our STARTRK-2 clinical study given their extensive experience in conducting molecularly-driven clinical trials”, said Pratik Multani, M.D., Ignyta’s Chief Medical Officer.
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