New four-way collaboration aims to improve clinical decision-making in the treatment of Colon Cancer

 2nd Mar 2015

EKF Diagnostics subsidiary , Selah Genomics, has announced a major, four-way collaboration with Greenville Health System (GHS, North Carolina), DecisionQ Corporation (Washington DC), and BD Technologies (New Jersey). Expected to last 18 months, the collaboration aims to unite classic clinical annotations with proprietary next generation sequencing (NGS) technology and artificial intelligence, in order to improve clinical decision support in the treatment of colon cancer patients.

If successful, a full clinical trial is planned to validate the research in a community-based setting, with the overall goal being to significantly improve the prognosis for patients by bringing center of excellence expertise to any clinical setting.

Using its PrecisionPath™ NGS technology, Selah Genomics will first determine the genetic profiles of samples provided by GHS’s Institute for Translational Oncology Research. The samples, from colon cancer patients with known outcomes, will be provided with full clinical annotation and include 100 retrospective cases in the first Phase, which is expected to last 6 months, and 400 in the second phase.

DecisionQ will train its artificial intelligence decision support algorithm - which was built based on “dry diagnostic” patient data (family history of disease, age, etc) - to analyse the genetic data together with clinical annotations to provide a system that supports improved clinical decisions in the treatment of colon cancer patients.  

The research project is being funded by BD Technologies in return for the first opportunity to license the technology should the collaboration be a success. After the initial collaboration, a clinical trial is planned to validate the research and affirm the effectiveness of the new system as a user friendly clinical decision support tool in a community-based setting.

“As many as 60% of solid tumor patients treated in the community do not respond to first line treatment”, said Michael Bolick, CEO, Selah Genomics. “These patients are then forced to undergo additional cycles of therapy in an attempt to identify viable options, burdening them with higher cost, elevated toxicity and, perhaps most importantly, lost time - a cancer patient’s most precious possession. 

With more than eight out of ten US patients treated in the community, our hope from this collaboration is that we will be able to offer a new ‘physician-friendly’ decision support tool for oncologists treating colon cancer patients in the community-based setting. 

This tool will allow local doctors to leverage information to make clinical decisions based on expertise only previously available at academic centers of excellence in the US, hopefully leading to significant improvements in patient outcomes.”

After proving the value for colon cancer, EKF and Selah Genomics intend to continue to evaluate similar models on other sites of origin.