Mission

Barron Biomedical is a research-based and an application-oriented enterprise in the field of personalized cancer medicine. We support pathologists and oncologists in identifying the most suitable treatment for the individual cancer patient.

  1. Drug selection: we have developed a procedure for the acquisition of high-quality tumor samples, isolation of DNA and RNA from these samples, and their high-throughput sequencing, known as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). The NGS can be directed to a selected group of genes (panel sequencing) or to all human genes (whole exome sequencing). Our procedure continues with the analysis of the sequencing data by bioinformatics, the identification of the gene alterations of the individual tumor and finally, the clinical interpretation of those alterations enabling an action for patient management. In this way it is possible to determine -before treatment- whether a given drug will be ineffective on the tumor or whether it has a higher chance to be effective. For instance, a mutation in a gene encoding a drug target that destroys the drug binding can predict non-response; a different mutation in the same gene that increases the drug binding can predict a higher probability of response. The analysis can be extended to evaluate any cancer drug, foreseen in guidelines or not, for the patient to be treated. This procedure for drug selection can be applied for patients with solid tumors as well as for patients with hematologic malignancies.

Even if our focus is the patient, we hope that our expertise in obtaining high-quality samples can one day support the medical-scientific community in two key research areas:

  1. Search for targets for new anticancer drugs: Targets are molecules present specifically in cancer cells and driving their growth and spread. Their identification is essential for the discovery of drugs that inhibit cancer growth.
  2. Search for biomarkers for a better patient assessment: Biomarkers in oncology are molecules employed as indicators for diagnosis, prognosis, therapy response, adverse drug reactions or therapy monitoring.
Medical Need
Goals
Biomarker Research
Drug Selection
Advantages
Research
Consulting
  • Actionable Genes

    Actionable alterations

    Subset of gene alterations (mutations, deletions, amplifications, fusions, etc.) with diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic or predictive implications, i.e. can be used to inform clinical management of patients1.

    Exome

    Exome

    The sequence encompassing all exons of an organism (exons are the gene regions encoding for proteins).

    Targets

    Drug Targets

    A target is a molecule with several properties:

    1. It is present in tumor cells in an abnormal quantity compared to its quantity in normal healthy cells.
    2. It plays a key role in growth and spread of cancer cells.
    3. Its inhibition reverts the pathological phenotype (e.g. uncontrolled proliferation) or triggers cancer cell death (apoptosis).

    Molecules with these properties are mostly members of signal pathways for proliferation or for apoptose. They can be targets for drugs, which stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. These drugs known as "targeted therapies" limit or avoid harm to normal cells.

    1. Adapted from: Dancey, JE et al. (2012) The genetic basis for cancer treatment decisions. Cell 148: 409-420.
  • Biomarker

    Biomarkers

    A biomarker is a measurable biological feature that acts as an indicator for a physiological, pathological or pharmacological process in the body2.

    Modern biology shows that such processes taking place in the body are driven and accompanied by changes in DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites of the involved cells and tissues. For this reason, these molecular features can be employed as biomarkers for the aforementioned processes and therefore can convey medical predictions. For example:

    • Biomarkers for assessment of individual disease risk
    • Biomarkers for early diagnosis
    • Biomarkers for prognosis
    • Biomarkers for response to therapy
    • Biomarkers for adverse drug reactions
    • Biomarkers for therapy monitoring

    Biomarkers may function as a single feature, such as a DNA-mutation, or as a group of features, such as several RNA species.

    1. Adapted from: Biomarkers Definitions Working Group Bethesda, Md (2001) Biomarkers and surrogate endpoints: Preferred definitions and conceptual framework. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 69:89-95 (Publikation des National Health Institute, USA)