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In Brief This Week: Broome Oncology, Canexia Health, Adastra, Hoag Memorial Hospital

NEW YORK – Broome Oncology, a provider of oncology and hematology services in Central New York, said this week it has integrated Deep Lens' artificial intelligence-based screening and enrollment platform, called VIPER, to help its clinical trial care team members identify and match patients to precision oncology trials. Deep Lens' platform combines data from lab tests, electronic medical records, and genomic data to match patients to trials. The company said that identifying cancer patients eligible for clinical trials is a time-consuming process that often requires manual searches of patient records and office notes, a task even more challenging amid the pandemic, which has created workforce limitations. VIPER should help to streamline the identification and screening process, Broome added. 

British Columbia-based cancer genomic testing firm Canexia Health this week provided several updates related to Project ACTT (Access to Cancer Testing & Treatment in Response to COVID-19), an effort it launched in July 2020 to provide circulating tumor DNA testing to cancer patients and enable selection of treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, while biopsy surgeries are delayed. More than 800 cancer patients in Canada have received ctDNA testing since the start of Project ACTT, which has received samples from patients in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The company estimated that 11 percent of samples are from patients in rural areas that often lack access to genomic testing. Canexia further noted that Pfizer, Novartis, and the Nova Scotia Health Authority have also joined the collaboration. The company also said that the project is generating data that will help accelerate Canadian provincial health coverage for ctDNA testing for cancer treatment selection over the long term. 

Cancer therapeutics firm Adastra Pharmaceuticals in Princeton, New Jersey, announced the completion of a Phase Ib trial of its CDK9 inhibitor zotiraciclib plus temozolomide, which was sponsored and conducted by the National Cancer Institute in patients with recurrent, high-grade gliomas. According to the company, the trial has met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival and demonstrated "a profound benefit" in glioma patients with IDH-mutated tumors over historical controls. The drug was also well tolerated, and Adastra plans to present and publish the study findings soon. Adastra CEO Scott Megaffin said in a statement that based on these findings, the company is moving zotiraciclib into registration-enabling studies in high-grade glioma patients and exploring the activity of the drug in other solid tumors and hematologic cancers.  

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California has launched a Molecular Imaging and Therapy Program to advance the center's personalized approach to cancer care. According to Gary Ulaner, who will lead the program, the molecular imaging techniques implemented at Hoag will not only enable more precise cancer diagnoses but could ultimately help identify which patients are most likely to respond to immunotherapy. Ulaner is bringing a number of molecular imaging-based clinical trials to the hospital's new program, including studies focused on using radiotracers for both targeted treatment and more precise diagnosis. 

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on Precision Oncology News.