OncoDNA, a genomic and theranostic company specializing in precision medicine for the treatment of patients with cancer and genetic diseases, today has announced its support to the extension of the AURORA program, which aims to include 252 more patients. The extension will specifically focus on patients with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) and those with late relapses beyond 10 years of initial breast cancer diagnosis.
Since 2014, AURORA, an international molecular screening program conducted by the Breast International Group (BIG), has collaborated with over 60 hospitals and cancer centers from 11 European countries to uncover genetic patterns specific to metastatic breast cancer (MBC). By performing comprehensive multi-omics profiling on primary tumor and paired metastases on a total of 1161 patients, the research program succeeded in identifying genomic alterations enriched in metastases and prognostic biomarkers. ESMO Scale for Clinical Actionability of molecular Targets (ESCAT) tier I/II alterations were detected in over half of the 381 patients. So far this represents the largest dataset of RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) in MBC, holding the potential to transform the way we approach and combat this challenging disease.
OncoDNA has served as the central screening laboratory for the AURORA metastatic breast cancer research program, where we handled the sequencing of the DNA of FFPE tissue from the primary tumor, the metastatic biopsy, whole blood and ctDNA from plasma. So far, progress in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer has mainly occurred through the conduct of empirical clinical trials in which patients are segregated by breast cancer subtyping, namely HR+/HER2-, HER2-positive or triple negative (TNBC). Consequently, treatment decisions are dictated by these subtypes, and the lines of therapy are usually based on the clinical-pathological characteristics of the primary tumor rather than on the characteristics of the tumor once it has spread.
The AURORA program has showed that integrating DNA and RNA sequencing in clinical practice could provide oncologists with additional insights to guide their treatment decision strategies.
The program is independent of any pharmaceutical company since it is crucial for the academic community to identify the most relevant, patient-centered, and innovative research questions to be addressed. AURORA is a purely academic study made possible by generous contributions from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) as the main funder, Fondation contre le Cancer (Belgium), Fondation Cancer (Luxembourg), National Lottery (Belgium), Pfizer grant for non-drug research, NIF Foundation, Barrie and Dena Webb, Candriam, Fondation Futur 21, Sogerim, Martine Piccart, the Hotinsky family, Cognizant Foundation, Eurofins Foundation, Think Pink Belgium (SMART Fund) and many individual donors. AURORA has also been supported by the Fund Friends of BIG, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation.
In this new phase, AURORA 2 will focus on Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC), and cases of late relapse—subgroups characterized by significant clinical challenges in this dynamically evolving research domain. OncoDNA will serve as the central screening laboratory for this AURORA 2 research program, conducting next-generation sequencing (NGS) and other analyses to identify genomic alterations in biological samples provided by participating metastatic breast cancer patients.
“We are very pleased to continue the collaboration with OncoDNA as we move forward with AURORA,” stated Theodora Goulioti, CEO of Breast International Group (BIG). “Their expertise and dedication in molecular analysis have been instrumental in this initiative. We believe this collaboration will play a pivotal role in driving new treatment strategies and advancing the field of personalized medicine for MBC patients. By combining curated clinical data with cutting-edge molecular insights, we aspire to bring hope and improved outcomes to those facing the challenges of metastatic disease.“
“We are delighted that the AURORA program is continuing and that they have received enough funding to propel its mission,” said Jean-Pol Detiffe, founder of OncoDNA. “At OncoDNA, we are committed to driving advancements in precision medicine, and our ongoing collaboration with Breast International Group (BIG) is a testament to that commitment. Together, we aim to unravel crucial insights that will empower clinicians and researchers to devise innovative therapies and personalized treatment strategies tailored to each patient’s unique profile. This collaboration represents a significant step towards bringing about transformative changes in the landscape of metastatic breast cancer, and we are eager to contribute to this vital mission that, we hope, will ultimately benefit patients worldwide.“
OncoDNA is a genomic and theranostic company specializing in precision medicine for the treatment of cancer and genetic diseases. The company helps clinicians, academic researchers and biopharma companies to outsmart molecular complexity with the mission of delivering the promise of precision medicine. The company not only provides clinical guidance for the treatment and real-time monitoring of late stage cancer patients, but also supports research and drug development in cancer and genetic diseases. Since its early days in 2012, OncoDNA grew into a corporate group of companies with world-renown expertise. The Group offers a unique portfolio that combines NGS services, biomarker testing, data interpretation software, and clinical decision support tools. OncoDNA is headquartered in Belgium, and its entities – Biosequence and IntegraGen – are based in Spain and France. The Group employs over 100 employees across 9 countries, works with an international network of 35 distributors and collaborates with European-based and US-based subcontracted accredited laboratories.