September 30, 2013 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Even as the cost of genetic sequencing falls, the number of gene profiles in data repositories increases. This month, a research project in Boston, Massachusetts, that includes Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Children’s Hospital reported that it now has over 5,000 genetic profiles of tumor DNA in its database. The project is called “Profile.” It is reported that 20,000 patients have already consented. Every patient at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston can enroll and participate in Profile. Patients may also choose to have their physician notified if their test reveals genetic mutations for which treatments exist.

MORE ON: DNA Profile

Profile’s research team is working with a new technology platform called OncoPanel. In their press release, it was noted that it “uses massively parallel or ‘next-generation’ sequencing to decode the DNA blue-print of 305 genes and find mutations—potentially millions of them, both previously known and those being discovered for the first time. It can also detect other important genetic alterations, such as deleted or amplified pieces of DNA, or chromosomes that have been broken and incorrectly repaired.” Physicians at the participating institutions are already using the information in the tumor DNA database to identify likely therapies that would benefit individual cancer patients.

WALGREENS INKS INFORMATICS PACT WITH INOVALON

Not only is Walgreens, the national pharmacy chain, preparing to get into clinical laboratory testing in a big way (see pages 3-9), but it is positioning itself to be a major provider of other healthcare services in its retail stores. On September 19, Walgreens announced an agreement with Inovalon, Inc. to use “Inovalon’s data-driven encounter support platform, Electronic Patient Assessment Solution Suite (ePASS) within Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens to support improvements in managed care quality and performance.” Heather Helle, Divisional Vice President of Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic division, described the benefits of this contract. “Through this partnership, we’ll be able to utilize the power of analytics to provide a higher level of individualized care to our patients, which will ultimately improve the patient experience and outcomes,” she stated.

Dark Daily Update

dark_daily_logoHave you caught the latest e-briefings from DARK Daily? If so, then you’d know about…

…the call by the French Court of Auditors this summer to cut prices to French laboratories by 7.5%, a cut of US$481 million in lab revenue. Experts predict medical labs in France will cut as many as 8,000 jobs due to this price reduction.

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