Universidad Mayor Partners BGI Genomics to Form the Biggest Cancer Genomics Laboratory in Chile


The Precision Oncology Center of Universidad Mayor, a leading Chilean university, obtained two cutting-edge sequencers and other equipment due to collaboration with BGI Genomics, allowing for more detailed genetic testing at half the cost and time of existing technologies.

"Knowing in detail the altered genes of a cancer patient's tumor can mean a big difference for the success of the treatment since it makes it possible to define which drug will be best to fight the disease," says Dr. Marcelo Garrido, director at the Precision Oncology Center (COP) of the Universidad Mayor.

With this goal, the Center, in partnership with BGI Genomics, recently acquired two state-of-the-art sequencers that will allow oncologists throughout the country to access unique technology in Chile to improve the treatment of their patients.

"These sequences will allow us to find out in Chile which altered genes patients have. Before, we had to send these samples abroad to other countries. This included very high cost and delays in time to obtain a diagnosis," adds the specialist.

The signing ceremony of the agreement with BGI Genomics was held on April 18. It was attended by the Vice Chancellor of Research Nicole Trefault and the general manager for Latin America, BGI Genomics, Liang Wu.

Dr. Patricio Manque, Scientific Director of the Center, highlights that this is a new step in consolidating the capacities of the U. Mayor in the area of genomics. "The Precision Oncology Center puts medicine at the service of the people in an unprecedented effort to move towards democratizing access to frontier medical treatments in the area of cancer, the leading cause of death in our country. We now can rely on the most important sequencing laboratory in Chile with equipment that allows analysis to be carried out in greater depth, in less time and at a lower cost."

Cutting edge technology

The Center's new sequencers purpose is to make thousands of copies of tumors' DNA to decode altered genes. Such tools are based on precision oncology.

Dr. Benjamin Garcia Bloj, clinical director of the Center, adds that "precision oncology involves the ability to study patient's genetics to personalize cancer management and opt for better survival and less toxicity compared to traditional approaches."

The doctor specifies that, although the sequencers are essential because they allow to read with high precision tumor mutations, it is also important to have a specialized team behind, able to interpret tests results.

For this reason, the Center has a Molecular Oncology Committee involving a multidisciplinary team, both clinical and scientific, to analyze complex cases of cancer tumor profiles

"Many times we realize that genetically a different diagnosis has to be made and therefore the treatments change," says Dr. Garcia Bloj, who adds that "for complex cases, we determine the best line of treatment that the patient can currently receive in the country."

Since its establishment in 2022, the Center has carried out over 850 clinical services and fifty clinical studies of cancer patients, implementing personalized therapies based on the clinical tools of precision oncology.

The Center has previously established with pharmaceutical laboratories, clinics, hospitals, primary health care services and patient associations to transfer their technology and knowledge in cancer genomics.

Source: Diario Mayor