Translational research is the basis for the testing performed at the Knight Diagnostic Laboratories and as such the labs are a pillar in the Knight Cancer Institute’s strategy to continue to lead the field of personalized cancer medicine. The laboratories are committed to the adoption of the latest technologies in order to provide the highest quality and most cost-effective testing services to meet clinical needs. The labs core products are cancer diagnostic tests that evaluate the cells that are defective, allowing cancer to grow. These tests are central to providing personalized cancer medicine as they help determine which therapies and trial drugs are best suited to target the mutated cells in each individual patient.  Close association with clinicians and researchers in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute make Knight Diagnostic Laboratories (KDL) a productive partner for researchers, companion diagnostics and clinical trial test development.

During the past decade healthcare has witnessed a revolution in DNA sequencing technologies. What once took months can now be accomplished in hours. These advances have fueled major discoveries in our understanding of molecular genetics and cancer. With the help of resources from the Knight Cancer Institute, the KDL were among the first to adopt next-generation sequencing (NGS) for clinical use.  The GeneTrails® Solid Tumor Panel is a fully customized product of the KDL and was first made available as a laboratory developed test in April of 2013. To date, more than 2000 clinical cancer samples have been screened for mutations using this panel, and the results have been shown to have a notable clinical impact. During 2013, the KDL developed a custom algorithm to assess gene copy number alterations from the sequencing data. This is now routinely applied in the analysis of cancer samples with the Solid Tumor Panel, broadening its utility.

Most recently, the KDL has invested in a new next-gen sequencer capable of supporting larger gene panels, as well as ‘whole exome’ sequencing (i.e. sequencing all coding regions of the entire genome). Each time someone gets their full genome sequenced, it generates information for 20,000 genes, which means terabytes of computer data. To analyze that data into meaningful, actionable results is expensive and takes time. Since 2013, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) including the Knight Cancer Institute and the Knight Diagnostic Laboratories has been working with Intel to shape how this data can be generated faster, cheaper and securely so it can be shared quickly with the right people at the right time.  The collaboration combines Intel’s strengths in extreme-scale computing capable of handling billions of complex computations simultaneously with OHSU’s innovative four-dimensional approach in imaging and analyzing the molecular-level drivers of cancer and other diseases.

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute's director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation's top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute's largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials.

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