UPDATE : Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Korea University analyzes 5,000 cancer patients’ genomic data 
  • By Kim Yun-mi
  • Published 2020.02.11 15:49
  • Updated 2020.02.11 15:49
  • comments 0

Korea University’s state-supported precision medicine project group, dubbed K-Master, said it has completed analyzing genomic data of more than 5,000 cancer patients and was conducting 15 clinical trials using the data.

The group was launched in 2017 to analyze genomic data of 10,000 cancer patients.

Kim Yeul-hong, president of K-Master Cancer Precision Medicine Diagnosis and Treatment Enterprise

K-Master said Tuesday it has registered 5,603 cancer patients as of Jan. 31, profiling genome data of 5,294 and securing 5,003 pieces of genomic analysis data.

With the analyzed data, the project group is conducting 15 studies for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, gastric cancer, and salivary gland cancer.

Established on June 15, 2017, K-Master’s main goal is to develop new diagnoses and treatments for cancer, based on precision medicine. It aims to analyze genomic data of 10,000 people by 2021 and allow the private sector to use the results as a database for domestic new drug development and research for precision medicine.

Fifty-five hospitals across the nation are participating in the clinical trials for genomic analysis. The participating patients’ tissues and blood samples from each hospital are profiled through K-Master’s cancer panels and Macrogen's Axen liquid biopsy panels. Depending on the analysis result, the project group matches patients with optimal trials.

According to K-Master’s report, 24 percent of 5,294 patients who underwent genome profiling had colorectal cancer, followed by breast cancer with 14 percent, gastric cancer and lung cancer each with 9 percent. Others included biliary/gallbladder cancer, sarcoma, ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer, and urinary epithelial cancer.

Out of the 15 ongoing trials, two studies that started in 2017 have completed registering patients and K-Master is soon to report the results. The two are a phase-2 trial to test immunotherapy avelumab in patients with colorectal cancer who have “microsatellite instability,” and a phase-2 trial administering sirolimus to solid cancer patients with “PIK3CA-AKT-PTEN” genetic mutation.

In 2019, a study began to try immunotherapy nivolumab in solid cancer patients with abnormal DNA repair genes and the recruitment of patients has rapidly progressed. Patient enrollment has also begun for a trial to administer gedatolisib plus Herzuma to patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer who have “PIK3CA-mTOR—PTEN” mutation, and for a study to test baricitinib plus paclitaxel for metastatic gastric cancer patients with EGFR and HER2 mutations.

This year, K-Master will start patient enrollment for a study to administer tepotinib to solid cancer patients with c-MET genetic mutation and a trial to evaluate immunotherapy INCMGA00012 in metastatic esophageal cancer.

In particular, clinical trials starting in 2020 will include pipelines in the initial stage of development in many pharmaceutical companies. Thus, K-Master’s genomic analysis and study results will contribute to local new drug development significantly, the group said.

K-Master also uses the Match Master System to notify clinicians of cancer patients’ next-generation sequencing (NGS) panel test results. The system helps find out whether the results match the ongoing clinical trial or plan a targeted treatment. The group said it would build K-Master Portal System, a data-sharing system, to visualize genomic analysis by cancer type, gene, and mutation, and unveil it in March.

Kim Yeul-hong, president of K-Master Cancer Precision Medicine Diagnosis and Treatment Enterprise, who is also a professor at the Oncology and Hematology at Korea University Anam Hospital, said clinical trials and genome data released this year will be used for new drug development research in Korea and the development of cancer diagnosis and treatment based on precise medicine. For local researchers, the data will be an opportunity to conduct trials based on precision medicine, he added.

“In 2020, we will offer opportunities for patients to participate in the project group’s trials and get access to new treatments. We will also endeavor to make the group’s research results contribute to the advancement of precision medicine.”


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