The Influence of Genetics on Clinical Research

Genome Expression Sequencing

Like any new technology adoption curve, genome sequencing has gone through the typical hype cycle. We start to leverage a new technology and it becomes massively hyped as the thing that will “change everything” only to realize that we don’t know what to do with it. We then go into despair because it seemingly hasn’t panned out until years later we start to realize the value and see the tangible utility of the tech. The 2000’s for genetics was not stagnant but definitely not as robust as what was promised. Now, fast forward to 2018, and we’re seeing some heavy influence in various research fields. One of those fields is clinical research and trials.

It used to be that most of the clinical trials we’re, to a degree, trial and error. We had evidence to suggest something but we didn’t necessarily always reach root causes and whether drugs we were testing were truly influencing changes in patient outcomes. Today, we’re seeing a huge influence of genetics in clinical research and trials on specific genes that have high degrees of research. For all therapeutic areas of research and trials, half of all drugs being tested are collecting some level of genetic data. For fields like oncology, that number is near 80%, creating a huge degree of influence and empirical data points for companies to leverage for drug modifications and optimizations.

With the growth rates of the genetics market hitting 20% CAGR, it begs the question of whether or not we will see a slow down anytime soon. With the data being collected today, most research and trials are doing simple genetic tests (typically targeted genome sequencing). That said, as data interpretation and bioinformatics software catches up, there could be a large influx of genetics driven decision making that will start to influence how patients are prepped for research and trials or deeper patient outcomes correlation analysis to glean strong evidence of causation versus correlation.

In our own facility, we are starting to see more and more clinical researchers and clinical trials accept targeted genome sequencing as a critical step within their procedures. Most of the researchers we work with have a focus on targeted gene panels scoped to specific genes of interest, such as the 11 loci for HLA Typing within immunology or immuno-oncology research. In our opinion, it’s critical to leverage this data for a couple of reason. The primary reason is that it helps remove uncertainty around the potential patient success of failure, specifically when the drug is targeting a biomarker to influence or manipulate. Being data-driven, especially with genetics and drug discovery, is always a good thing. The second reason is that it can reduce the time spent performing trial and error techniques which ultimately bring clinical research and trial costs down significantly. Particularly in clinical trials, this is important due to the potential costs exceeding $600,000 per day. Using targeted gene panels and genome sequencing, researchers can remove uncertainty and accelerate their research dramatically.

For researchers that don’t know where to start or are curious about how to start using genetic data, have no fear! We work with top research organizations like Children’s National Hospital, The Salk Institute, and Pfizer to accelerate their research. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help accelerate your research without breaking your research budget!

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