US-based Quest Diagnostics has teamed up with Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research institution, to launch an expanded database for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic data.
The initiative, called BRCA Share, was co-founded by Quest and Inserm to provide scientists and laboratory organizations around the world open access to BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic data. The goal of the initiative is to accelerate research surrounding BRCA gene mutations, particularly variants of uncertain significance, in order to improve clinical laboratory diagnostics’ ability to predict which patients are at a risk for developing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
The initiative builds on an effort from the French agency, which for over a decade has collected and maintained a database of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing data in the country through 16 laboratories, together with associated University Hospital Centers, the Unicancer Genetic Group
Members of BRCA Share will pool de-identified patient data on BRCA1 and BRCA2. While several mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are established as cancer causing, there are times when a patient receives and indeterminate test result because the patient’s genetic information reveals a gene variant of uncertain significance (VUS). Greater insights into the cancer risk of VUS will reduce the potential for indeterminate results, resulting in improvements in risk-assessment for certain cancers.
“BRCA Share is a new model for public and private collaboration in an age of scientific openness and genomics discovery,” said Steve Rusckowski, president and chief executive officer, Quest Diagnostics. “This initiative will harness the power of diagnostic insights to illuminate the role of genetics in inherited cancer. It reflects Quest’s value as a provider of insights into disease that enable people to take actions to improve their health. Inserm and UGG’s experience in BRCA data curation and excellence in BRCA science make it eminently well suited co-lead this initiative with Quest.”
Under BRCA Share, all members will have access to the same pool of jointly contributed BRCA data. Quest will license BRCA data and form sublicense agreements with any commercial lab or academic party committing to share BRCA data with the group’s members.
“Hearing ‘you have a high risk of cancer’ is devastating, but for those who receive an inconclusive result, hearing ‘you may have high risk, but we are not sure’ can be worse,” said Sue Friedman, executive director of the patient advocacy group, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE). “FORCE applauds current and future participants in the BRCA Share program for creating a platform that is structured to promote transparency of clinical-grade test data and to catalyze research leading to clinically significant discoveries.”
Source: Quest Diagnostics
Last updated: 4/22/15; 3:30pm EST