Santa Clara, CA (January 22, 2013): NextBio today announced a translational research partnership with Emory University, Winship Cancer Institute and the Aflac Cancer Center aimed at using NextBio Clinical to interpret molecular and genomic data from children with medulloblastoma. The goal of the effort is to discover biomarkers that predict metastasis of the cancer in these young patients.
Medulloblastoma is the most common brain tumor of childhood effecting around 500 children in the US every year. This tumor primarily affects children between the ages of 5 and 9 years and accounts for 20% of all brain tumors in children below 19. There is currently no way to predict which patients will develop tumor metastasis. Thus the widely accepted standard of care is to treat all children suffering from this type of brain cancer with radiation therapy.
“The problem with giving radiation to all children with medulloblastoma is that it causes long term side-effects and toxicity in young growing brains,” said Tobey MacDonald, M.D. Director, Brain Tumor Program at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University. He is also the principal investigator of the study and has spent over 10 years of his career working on solving the problem of predicting which children with brain cancer should be treated with radio-therapy while sparing those at low risk of disease spread.
“Emory and the Aflac Cancer Center’s ability to perform genomic studies on patients and then to use NextBio Clinical’s correlation engine to compare the genomic profile of primary tumors with that of metastatic tumors, both across our data and across the large amount of data that NextBio has curated from the public domain, makes achieving our goal of improving outcomes for people with medulloblastoma seem nearer in sight,” Dr. MacDonald concluded. His research is partially funded by generous partners including Aflac, the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Grant and the Swim Across America Foundation.
“NextBio Clinical platform uses a big data technology approach to solve exactly these types of perplexing problems that doctors and researchers have spent years trying to address,” said Alpana Verma-Alag, M.D., Head of Clinical Development at NextBio. “This study will look at clinical and genomic data from real patients, as well as data from mouse models and frozen human tissue samples, and then will correlate these data sets with other data from the public domain. Our goal at NextBio has been to not only make this type of study possible, but also to make it very easy and efficient to perform. To help change the course of a cancer that largely affects children would be a great accomplishment, and NextBio is very proud to be part of such an effort.”
About The Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University
The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is the only NCI-designated cancer center in Georgia, and one of only 59 NCI-designated centers providing cancer care in the country. Winship investigators conduct more than 150 therapeutic clinical trials and enrolled 700 patients in 2011. Winship has the largest unit in Georgia for Phase I clinical trials, which are important to introducing new therapies against cancer.
About the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a national leader among childhood cancer, hematology, and blood and marrow transplant programs, serving infants to young adults. Recognized as one of the top childhood cancer centers in the country, the Aflac Cancer Center treats more than 350 new cancer patients each year and follows more than 2,500 patients with sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other blood disorders. Visit http://www.aflaccancercenter.org or call 404-785-1112 or 888-785-1112 for more information.
NextBio provides a state of the art scientific platform to aggregate and interpret large quantities of molecular and other life sciences data for research and clinical applications. NextBio’s platform integrates data from multiple repositories and diverse technologies by means of a unique correlation engine, which pre-computes billions of significant connections between disparate public and proprietary clinical and experimental data. This feature enables interpretation of an individual’s molecular data. It also provides translational researchers the ability to look across the clinical and molecular data of entire populations for clinical trial stratification and selection, hypotheses generation, and biomarker discovery. NextBio Clinical, which recently passed an independent HIPAA audit, is designed for seamless integration with existing clinical and research systems. Backed by highly scalable, Big Data technology, it is capable of analyzing petabytes of data. NextBio’s platform is delivered as a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution resulting in quick deployment and rapid return on investment.
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