Translational Genomics Research Institute and Applied Biosystems Accelerate use of Genomics Research for Medical Applications
11 Mar 2009

Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, has announced a strategic alliance designed to accelerate research into complex diseases and medical conditions. As part of this alliance, a team of scientists from TGen and Applied Biosystems will employ the SOLiD™ 3 System, Applied Biosystems’ next-generation genomic analysis platform, to sequence DNA from thousands of patients with a variety of diseases. The goal of this research is to translate scientific discoveries at the genetic level into knowledge about the underlying causes of disease that may ultimately be used to create cutting-edge tools for use in clinical diagnosis.

The alliance enables TGen researchers to apply best-of-breed sequencing technology across a broad spectrum of research efforts that focus on developing a more personalised approach to medicine. This approach, which is known as personalised medicine, represents a potential clinical shift from treatment of disease based on symptoms, to therapy that is specific to an individual’s unique genetic make up. Among the goals of this project is to advance the promise of personalised medicine by reducing the cost of genome sequencing to make it a routine diagnostic tool in medical care.

“This strategic alliance will accelerate genomic discoveries by integrating relevant scientific findings into the clinical setting,” said Mark Stevenson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Life Technologies. “The SOLiD System will help this team of scientists and other researchers and clinicians interpret how genetic variation can improve the ability to create more effective therapeutic solutions, bringing personalized medicine one step closer to mainstream application.”

The scientists involved in this alliance will utilize a total of five SOLiD 3 Systems to build a sequencing pipeline in connection with patient-centric, medically-directed resequencing on a cross section of patient samples. The results are expected to positively impact individuals with cancer, autoimmune and neurological disorders. The alliance will also involve the co-development of a bioinformatics analysis and visualization pipeline for the SOLiD platform. This will result in software tools designed to ease the analytical challenges associated with analysing the vast amounts of data generated by human disease and cancer genomics applications of next generation sequencing.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Scientific Director of TGen, and other renowned principal investigators will partner with Applied Biosystems scientists to perform six different projects focused on comprehensive characterisation of genetic and molecular changes occurring within clinical cohorts for each disease. The scientists at TGen chose the SOLiD technology for this project, due to its inherent scalability, unparalleled throughput and unmatched data accuracy. These attributes make the SOLiD System uniquely suited for translational research of complex diseases by enabling the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms and other structural variation across the genome in large numbers of samples.

“Consistent with TGen’s mission of developing the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics, the alliance with Applied Biosystems forges ties with a key industry partner whose technologies align seamlessly with our research objectives and should produce accelerated progress in our efforts to better understand the genetic underpinnings of many diseases, with a particular emphasis on cancer,” said Dr. Trent.

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