On January 23-25, 2017 the Precision Medicine World Congress was held in Mountain View, California. The PWMC conference kicked off with Dr. Keith Yamamoto, Vice Chancellor for Science and Policy and Strategy UCSF, with Dr. Robert Califf, FDA Commissioner in a “fireside chat” format. Dr. Califf has been with the FDA for 2 years, has served as Commissioner for 11 months, but has resigned as of January 20th 2017. One of his important parting thoughts presented was how the FDA has been re-energized by the 21st Century Cures Act to hire new scientific talent to implement the President’s Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot plans.
Status of FDA regulation of laboratory developed tests, the promise of precision medicine, and a workshop about achieving accurate NGS laboratory test results
Non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) is currently offered in over 80 countries, covering over 80 million annual births, with an estimated volume of over one million screening tests performed annually. First offered in 2011, there has been rapid adoption of these genomic tests in the marketplace.
After 17 months of deliberations since its first open meeting February 20, 2015 on NGS IVD assay oversight, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued DRAFT guidance for Stakeholders and FDA staff. The document “Use of Standards in FDA Regulatory Oversight of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-Based In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs) Used for Diagnosing Germline Diseases” was published online on July 6, 2016. This document (PDF located here) is for analytical validity and not for clinical validation.
Counterpoint to the FDA arguments for laboratory-developed test oversight
As pointed out by my colleague Trevor Brown in his blog post “LDT Oversight: Why the FDA makes a point” (their case for increased oversight of the new wave of Laboratory Developed Tests [LDTs]), the LDT horse “left the barn” years ago so why is the FDA calling for a ‘round up’ today?
Recent publication highlights potential of personalized medicine for young cancer patients
There are many challenges for pediatric patients struggling with recurrent or refractory cancer but a recent report and accompanying editorial published in the Journal of American Medical Association brings new hope for patients and their families.1 2This three year study also demonstrates how the principles of precision medicine can be successfully applied with existing DNA and RNA sequencing technologies for many patients.