Contextual Main Account News

Genome BC supporting revolutionary cancer screening program

The National Access Program for Cancer Testing (NAP) is a groundbreaking move to establish equitable access to state-of-the-art cancer diagnostics across Canada. Led by Contextual Genomics, the program is supported by a consortium of companies and academic institutions. In NAP, Contextual Genomics’s Find-ItTM (Cancer Hotspot Panel) profiles a patient’s tumour to match that patient to the most effective treatment options, whether these be approved treatments or those in late stage clinical development. Find-ItTM is now commercially available to patients, through their oncologists, across Canada.

NAP’s first phase was a study that applied Find-ItTM to roughly 500 banked tumor samples to confirm that the test functioned as expected, although no treatment decisions were based on this testing. Genome BC has invested in NAP’s second phase, where Find-ItTM is being used to analyze solid tumors from approximately 1,500 cancer patients across Canada in order to guide actual treatment decisions. The Find-ItTM test is being provided free of charge to these initial patients, with results provided to their oncologists.

“This is genomics in action with real-time actual clinical decisions being directed by genomic information,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC. “Our investment into Contextual Genomics advances research and commercialization, benefiting cancer patients across Canada.”

The National Access Program is designed to change clinical practice for solid tumour cancers in Canada by allowing medication selection on the basis of an individual’s genetic tumor profile. Find-ItTM tests for 90 actionable mutations and is designed to increase availability of tumour testing, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. Also included is “best in market” patient safety, focused physician reporting, and pricing designed for reimbursement in the Canadian market.

“Cancer is driven by multiple aberrations that are unique to each patient’s tumour. Knowing what these aberrations are empowers oncologists to select the best treatment plan for the patient. We believe that quality genomic testing should become standard practice in cancer care, giving patients access to the most effective treatment option based on their tumour profile,” says Contextual Genomics’s President and CEO Chris Wagner. “We have been most excited with the enthusiasm Canadian oncologists have shown in registering for this program.”

Funding and technical assistance for the NAP are being provided by some of the world’s leading life science organizations including ArcherDx, AstraZeneca, Contextual Genomics, Genome BC, Illumina, LifeLabs, Pfizer, Personalized Medicine Initiative, and Sanofi.

Contextual Genomics was the first laboratory in BC to be accredited by the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons to specifically run molecular testing and is one of only eight laboratories in BC to be accredited by the College of American Pathologists. The investment from Genome BC into Contextual came through the Strategic Opportunities Fund for Industry (SOFi) program. The SOFi program seeks to accelerate commercial potential with local companies and facilitate collaboration with industry.

This release contains forward-looking statements that are not based on historical fact. These forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, events or developments to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

Contextual Genomics
Chris Wagner, President and CEO

Personalized Medicine Initiative
Rob Fraser, PhD, COO
Personalized Medicine Initiative
Associate Director
Life Sciences Institute