Sysmex Enters into Research Collaboration Agreement in Relation to Cancer and Rare Diseases with the University of Tokyo
Aiming for the Clinical Application of Genomic Medicine-
Sysmex Corporation (HQ: Kobe, Japan; Chairman and CEO: Hisashi Ietsugu) and the University of Tokyo (Location: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; President: Makoto Gonokami) have entered into a research collaboration agreement involving the development of a target gene panel1. The objective is to analyze lung cancer, sarcoma and other specified types of diseases, and analyze genetic mutations related to rare diseases2 with a view to the clinical application of genomic medicine.
As one aspect of the Research Project for Genomic Medicine that the university is pursuing, a sequencing lab will open. Sysmex subsidiary RIKEN GENESIS Co., Ltd. (HQ: Tokyo, Japan; President & CEO: Naoto Kondo) will take charge of operating the lab, conducting genomic analysis under international quality standards.
Genomic medicine involves studying individuals’ genetic information included in DNA and diagnosing, treating and preventing disease more efficiently and effectively based on the results obtained. Cancer, certain rare diseases and lifestyle diseases are also targets for genomic medicine. Around the world, initiatives are underway to bring genomic medicine into practical use in order to realize high-quality, effective healthcare.
In Japan, the Council for Promoting Genomic Medicine, established under the Cabinet Secretariat’s Promotion Council for Healthcare Policy, is liaising with individual ministries in an initiative aimed at the practical realization of genomic medicine3.
At the University of Tokyo, the Research Project for Genomic Medicine has been launched to confirm diagnoses and select optimal medical care for cancer and intractable diseases (including rare diseases) based on genomic analysis. This research project is one aspect of the Project to Create an Integrated Database for Clinical Genome Information4 and is being promoted by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).
As part of this project, Sysmex and the University of Tokyo have entered into a research collaboration agreement related to a target gene panel and the analysis of genetic mutations for rare diseases with the aim of analyzing specified types of cancer. With regard to the target gene panel, Sysmex and the University of Tokyo plan to conduct joint research on a panel for lung cancer and sarcoma. The clinical performance verification will be conducted with an aim to perform clinical sequence testing5 on the developed panel.
In addition, RIKEN GENESIS, a subsidiary of Sysmex, which was registered as the first CLIA certified lab6 in Japan, will operate a sequencing lab set up within the University of Tokyo Molecular & Life Innovation Building (within the grounds of the University of Tokyo Hospital).
Sysmex will work on technological developments to further improve the quality and efficiency of gene analysis testing. At the same time, the Group will pursue R&D and business developments aimed at providing the high-value testing necessary to provide healthcare optimized for each individual patient.
1. Target gene panel: A gene set which is designed to analyze the mutation, proliferation and fusion of multiple genes having diagnostic significance. The simultaneous analysis of the mutation, fusion and proliferation of multiple genes provides reference information that can be useful in determining treatment regimens for cancer patients, such as with the selection of anti-cancer drugs.
2. Rare diseases: A general term referring to diseases that affect a small number of people. Concepts of disease rarity differ by country. In Japan, the concept of rare diseases is established by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, who sets as a condition for drugs for rare diseases those diseases that “affect fewer than 50,000 patients in Japan.” Rare diseases are thought to be genetic for around 80% of patients. Physicians tend to have little experience with such diseases, as they are highly rare, making diagnosis difficult. However, many diseases can be diagnosed through gene testing.
3. Source (Japanese only): “Status and Issues Related to Genomic Medicine,” Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
4. Project to Create an Integrated Database for Clinical Genome Information: Based on the Interim Guidelines of the Japanese government’s Council for Promoting Genomic Medicine (July 2015), AMED began building a database combining clinical and genetic information that might be used in clinical and research settings by verifying relationships between genomic information, disease characteristics and clinical characteristics among Japanese people, and began pursuing advanced R&D that would use this research foundation in an integrated manner.
Source: AMED website (Japanese only)
In the fiscal 2016 Project to Create an Integrated Database for Clinical Genome Information, at the University of Tokyo the project adopted Professor Hiroyuki Mano’s theme of “Establishment of a Large-Scale Genomic Medicine Framework and Construction of a Knowledge Database” and Professor Shoji Tsuji’s theme of “Creation of an Integrated Database for Clinical Genomic Information in the Field of Rare and Intractable Diseases.”
5. Clinical sequence testing: The type of testing which analyzes genetic information of patients with a high degree of precision by using the next-generation sequencer with the purpose of diagnosis and treatment methods selection.
6. CLIA certified lab: The lab certified in accordance with the U.S. Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA). CLIA labs are required to undergo periodic inspections to ensure quality maintenance. Being registered as a CLIA lab certifies quality control for testing.
Information contained in the press release is current as of the date of the announcement, but may be subject to change without prior notice.