GHS, ITOR and Selah to Transform Cancer Care with Genetic Testing

GREENVILLE, SC -Thanks to an innovative Greenville Health System partnership with Selah Genomics, a new gene-based diagnostic test is paving the way for more precise and potentially far more effective cancer treatment at GHS.

This is the first time that this type of advanced genetic test has been developed, validated and employed in a clinical setting in South Carolina to empower oncologists to tailor specific treatment plans based on the particular molecular profile of each patient's cancer.

Selah's PrecisionPath™ test, which was developed with clinical guidance from GHS oncologists, addresses the game-changing redefinition of the classification of cancer.

"When it comes to treatment, one size does not fit all anymore," said Jeff Edenfield, MD, medical director of GHS' Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR). "Cancers have long been categorized and treated by the anatomic site of origin of the cancer - for example, lung or breast - but emerging science shows that we have exhausted what can be achieved with that approach."

Selah's Clinical Genomics Center at ITOR was founded to focus on the mutations, or alterations, in the genes that drive a person's cancer and to help clinicians, academic researchers and drug developers better target exactly what drugs would work best on an individual's specific cancer. This new type of genomic medicine uses molecular information about an individual as part of a physician's diagnostic or therapeutic decision-making.

So far, PrecisionPath™ has been performed on six common cancers: non-small-cell lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. This powerful new capability, emerging from within the GHS' Cancer Institute and ITOR, is the next logical step in GHS' programmatic approach to personalizing cancer care. "This pilot program marks the start of routine molecular screening of cancer patients at GHS," said Dr. Larry Gluck, the medical director of the GHS Cancer Institute. "Our community will enjoy accelerated access to promising new drugs that are usually only available at a handful of prominent academic cancer centers," said Gluck. "It will be an enormous potential benefit for cancer patients from our entire region since they may now be matched to specific new medications being studied here or elsewhere."

PrecisionPath™ is built on Life Technologies' revolutionary new Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine and is provided via its laboratories in the NEXT Innovation Center and at ITOR's Innovation Zone. "We are thrilled to leverage a powerful new generation of gene sequencers to enable focused clinical sequencing within GHS. And the pace of progress is accelerating," said Selah Genomics CEO Michael Bolick.

Using this in-house capability, GHS doctors are now developing treatment plans for cancer patients more quickly and more effectively. Selah is able to provide results to GHS doctors within a week, far faster than alternatives in the market. By specifically targeting the genetic makeup of each patient's cancer, physicians can find a better treatment match, which may include a clinical trial, while also avoiding more toxic treatments and their damaging side effects. This test is also being used as a routine screening tool to facilitate enrollment on the next generation of targeted clinical trials.

"PrecisionPath™ is designed to enable community-based health care delivery systems better treat each patient today and realize the promise of more precise and personalized medicine tomorrow," said Bolick. "GHS, ITOR and Selah have partnered to pilot this service here in the upstate of South Carolina and are now beginning collaboration with like-minded healthcare delivery systems and clinicians for the benefit of patients across the nation."

The next generation of cancer treatment questions will be answered by large databases of genomic information and will require collaboration, said W. Jeffery Edenfield, MD, co-director of ITOR.

"At the GHS Cancer Institute, we intend to make this powerful testing routine for patients. It is truly innovative that a community-focused academic hospital system can develop and then implement this type of clinically focused genomic analysis."

Said Edenfield, "We believe that this is a model for other centers to emulate but, for our patients, the time is now."

Greenville Health System (GHS)

Greenville Health System (GHS) is committed to medical excellence through patient care, research and education. GHS offers patients a sophisticated network of expertise and technologies through its five medical campuses, physician practices and numerous specialty services throughout upstate South Carolina. The system is also home to one of the nation's newest medical schools - University of South Carolina School of Medicine. GHS is among the largest healthcare networks in the Southeast. The not-for-profit system offers more active clinical trials than any hospital system in S.C.

Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR)

With a focus on translational research and personalized medicine, Greenville Health System's Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) provides some of the most advanced cancer treatments available while supporting industry's crucial need to achieve greater efficiency and expediency in bringing life-saving cancer drugs to patients. ITOR includes a phase I Clinical Research Unit, a Biorepository Services platform and Innovation Zone and proteomics and genomics capabilities through the Selah Clinical Genomics Center at ITOR.

Selah Genomics

Selah Genomics is a clinical diagnostic specialist supporting healthcare providers and the pharmaceutical industry with advanced molecular and genomic diagnostic services. Selah's services add value to early stage drug development, clinical trials and regulatory processes in the pharmaceutical industry and helps clinicians and healthcare providers treat and monitor patients, thereby improving patient outcomes.

Contact: Sandy Dees, 864/797-7557

DATE: April 26, 2013