Skip to Content

New Data-centric Collaboration with Caris Life Sciences Aims to Advance Cancer Research

West Virginia researchers now have a new resource to help them study and understand the molecular complexities of cancer development and progression

Spurred by the crucial need to understand the molecular complexities of cancer development and progression, a joint effort by the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) and the West Virginia University Cancer Institute has led to a collaboration with Caris Life Sciences (Caris), the leading next-generation biotech company and precision medicine pioneer that is actively developing and delivering innovative solutions to revolutionize healthcare and improve the human condition. WVU and WVCTSI will leverage Caris’ comprehensive molecular profiling services including whole exome sequencing and whole transcriptome sequencing to accelerate precision medicine approaches for patients in West Virginia.

“Driving science from bench to bedside requires validation of actionable targets in primary cancer patient specimens,” said Lori A Hazlehurst, Ph.D., professor in the WVU School of Pharmacy and associate center director of basic science at WVU Cancer Institute. “Using Caris’ data set, we were able to demonstrate that the target of interest to our research team is a poor prognostic indicator in lung cancer patients across the Caris Precision Oncology Alliance member sites as well as patients residing in West Virginia. Our collaborative genomic studies have provided the rationale to genetically and pharmacologically validate the target using lung cancer model systems and develop a drug discovery effort to identify more potent and specific inhibitors for treatment of lung cancer.”

Through comprehensive molecular profiling and the application of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms, Caris has created the largest clinico-genomic database and cognitive computing needed to analyze and unravel the molecular complexity of disease. Caris’ suite of molecular profiling offerings assesses DNA, RNA and proteins to reveal a molecular blueprint that informs physicians and researchers.

“By collaborating with WVCTSI we are going to unlock the full potential of comprehensive precision medicine for the state of West Virginia,” said Milan Radovich, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer of Caris. “This dataset will enable valuable research and, in the long run, will impact clinical decision-making and clinical trial enrollment for WVU Cancer Institute patients.”

“Having these cancer genomic data gives researchers and physicians another very important piece of clinical information,” said Wes Kimble, director of research data analytics with WVCTSI. “The availability of these data will enable researchers to gain better insights on specific cancers and associated clinical outcomes, potentially leading to novel treatments.”

Leveraging Caris’ unique AI-driven platform will not only deepen researchers’ understanding of cancer, it will also lead to more cutting-edge precision oncology research to improve outcomes of cancer patients in West Virginia and beyond.

WVCTSI Background

WVCTSI is funded by an IDeA Clinical and Translational grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (U54GM104942) to support the mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure and capacity to impact health disparities in West Virginia.