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Illumina Partners With Norwegian Precision Medicine Study to Assess Liquid Biopsy Cancer Testing

NEW YORK – Illumina said on Thursday that it is supporting a Norwegian study of comprehensive genomic profiling for cancer therapy selection with sequencing reagents, computing, and other services.

The San Diego-based firm is donating its resources for a 500-patient project, dubbed IMPRESS-Norway, short for "improving public cancer care by implementing precision medicine in Norway" study, that will compare the efficacy of blood-based CGP with tissue-based profiling in order to find out if blood testing can offer additional information that may be relevant to the treatment choice.

Specifically, Illumina is providing NovaSeq 6000 S2 v1.5 reagent kits, TruSight Oncology 500 comprehensive genomic profiling assays, and Dragen software for analysis, Sven Schaffer, director of scientific affairs at Illumina, said in an email. Additionally, the firm will provide logistics, data analysis, and data interpretation, including the comparison of results from blood and tissue biopsy samples from the same patients.

"Securing high-quality tissue biopsies can be both challenging and time-consuming," Hege Russnes, a pathologist at Oslo University Hospital and head of the Infrastructure for Precision Diagnostics for cancer, or INPRED, organization, said in a statement. "The use of blood sample analysis could offer a powerful diagnostic tool for determining relevant biomarkers in advanced cancer patients so that we can match them effectively to clinical trials."

INPRED, a network of pathology departments across Norwegian hospitals that provide NGS services, will carry out the CGP testing of blood and tissue samples. 

Illumina's TSO 500 ctDNA panel covers 523 genes in cancer-related pathways and can detect single-nucleotide variants, indels, copy number variants, and fusions, as well as assess microsatellite instability and tumor mutational burden. 

In February, Illumina partnered with the Belgian Society of Medical Oncology and PierianDx to study the use of CGP in precision medicine, also providing TSO 500 assays and NovaSeq reagents to that effort.