Studies by St. George physicians demonstrate successful application of genomics in studying cancerTwo publications from physicians at the Southwest Cancer Center in St. George demonstrate the successful application of genomics approaches to studying individual cancer cases.

Lincoln Nadauld, M.D., Ph.D., and Derrick Haslem, M.D., are medical oncologists at the Southwest Cancer Center in St. George. In addition to treating patients, they conduct research to advance cancer care and precision medicine. Their recent research has been published in two national peer-reviewed journals: “Genome Medicine” and “Journal of Clinical Oncology-Precision Oncology” in collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare doctors and researchers from Stanford School of Medicine.

The first study — published in the “Journal of Clinical Oncology-Precision Oncology,” a research publication outlet from the American Society of Clinical Oncologists — “outlines the impressive clinical course and positive outcome of a patient with metastatic colon cancer treated with a precision oncology approach.” The second publication — from “Genome Medicine,” on which Nadauld is a co-author — “demonstrates that linked read sequencing is useful in characterizing oncogenic rearrangements in cancer metastasis.” Both studies were carried out in collaboration with Hanlee P. Ji, M.D., senior associate director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center and associate professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine.

Linked read sequencing is a process that allows scientists and doctors to look at the molecular structure of tumor DNA in “longer reads of 50,000 base pairs, versus the typical 200–300, revealing the genomic complexity of patient tumors.”

“In this patient, we were able to identify an amplification of a gene called FGFR2, which is critical because there are drugs that target that mutation,” Nadauld points out in the “Genome Medicine” study. “This case indicates there are broader applications for linked read technology, including diagnostic purposes and defining additional treatment options for patients along with new genes to target. With further study, pharmaceutical and biotech technologies can start to develop new drugs that target different molecular phenomena.”

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