Global Gene, OSUCCC-James to Study Rare Cancers in South Asian, Indian Populations

November 16, 2017
Global Gene, OSUCCC-James to Study Rare Cancers in South Asian, Indian Populations
Global Gene will partner with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute to study rare cancers in South Asian and Indian populations. [Source: iStock/© luismmolina]

Global Gene said it will partner with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) to study rare cancers in South Asian and Indian populations.

Global Gene, a genomics data platform and applications developer, said it will offer access to longitudinal, genomics data, insights and analytics for unexplored patient populations in South Asians under the collaboration. Researchers will molecularly profile tumors using unspecified technology in the laboratory of Arnab Chakravarti, M.D., the Max Morehouse Chair of Cancer Research at Ohio State, where he directs the Brain Tumor Program and chairs the Department of Radiation Oncology.

“Using a high-throughput approach to understand the drivers for a variety of rare and common cancers will allow us to truly develop insights that will lead to personalized medicine for patients,” Global Gene Chairman and CEO Sumit Jamuar said in a statement. “By working with underrepresented populations, both organizations can fill in key gaps needed for discovery with global applications, while simultaneously helping people in South Asian and Indian populations.”

Global Gene focuses on building a longitudinal, genomics data foundation and insights for under-explored patient populations, and has established collaborations with more than 51 healthcare and genomics institutions.

Global Gene has a research and development facility at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridge UK, as well as offices in Boston, Singapore and India.

Dr. Chakravarti is a member of the Translational Therapeutics Program at OSUCCC-James, where he focuses on translational cancer research intended to identify novel biomarkers that are predictive of treatment efficacy and survival, as well as uncover molecular and genetic mechanisms of treatment resistance to advance care of cancer patients.

His lab’s primary focus is investigating the molecular, genetic, and epigenetic mechanisms of treatment resistance in human tumors and developing strategies to circumvent this resistance in the clinic. A major focus of the group is on signal transduction pathways, specifically the PI3K/AKT pathway, in glioblastoma and prostate cancer, according to his Ohio State webpage.

Dr. Chavrevarti’s lab was among the first to report that the dysregulation of PI3K/AKT signaling is associated with radiation resistance in glioblastomas. It also was the first to identify that dysregulation of PI3K signaling is significantly associated with adverse clinical outcomes in GBM patients. These findings led to some of the first clinical studies to combine radiotherapy with kinase inhibitors targeting this pathway.

Dr. Chakravarti’s team is conducting high-throughput molecular, genetic, and epigenetic profiling of brain tumors, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and melanomas—using a genome-wide correlative approach that includes techniques such as SNP, miRNA, and global methylation analyses, with the goal of identifying novel molecular prognostic and predictive biomarkers.

Additional research topics for his lab include glioma stem cells, DNA repair pathways, tumor microenvironment, and cell metabolism. Dr. Chakravarti recently became the first radiation oncologist to be appointed to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Advisory Board.   

"To help fight cancer, one has to build a representative and unique perspective that leads to novel insights. India and South East Asia have different manifestations of cancer compared to cancers that are considered rare in the West. We aim to study why,” Dr. Chakravarti stated.