Insight Genetics has entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to develop a new diagnostic test, which will enable the physicians to monitor cancer patients and make more effective treatment decisions.
Under the agreement, Insight Genetics has obtained rights for mutations in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, which confers resistance to ALK inhibitors.
ALK has been identified as the cause of a number of cancers, and several pharmaceuticals companies are developing ALK inhibitors combat ALK-positive tumours.
The challenge with ALK inhibitors, however, is that patients can develop resistance to them, which renders the therapies ineffective.
The Insight Genetics-St Jude licence includes genetic mutations that can arise after the treatment with ALK inhibitors.
The diagnostic test, known as Insight ALK Resistance, will provide the patients and physicians with information about the mutation status of ALK in cancers, which can guide the physicians in the prescription of alternate treatments.
Insight Genetics chief technology officer Dr Josh Nickols said the test will yield great improvements in the care of patients with a variety of cancers caused by ALK, including lung cancers, lymphomas, certain sarcomas and other malignancies.