NeoGenomics, a provider of cancer-focused genetic and molecular testing services, has announced that it has validated and launched the first two of a series of next generation cancer profiling tests.

These tests are designed for profiling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and solid tumor cancers. Additional cancer-type specific next generation tests are currently being validated and are scheduled for launch over the next several months.

The MDS next generation sequencing (NGS) test can be performed on bone marrow, peripheral blood and plasma samples. Plasma-based testing for MDS may be used to avoid bone marrow biopsies. It also has the potential to quantify and monitor tumor load and to detect the emergence of subclones.

The MDS next generation profiling test covers 16 genes involved in the various pathways of MDS, including epigenomics, signal transduction, transcription regulation and spliceosomes. This test is particularly important for confirming and defining the diagnosis of MDS, which can be extremely difficult in early stages of the disease.

The solid tumor cancer NGS profiling test covers 48 genes and is performed on paraffin-embedded tissue. This solid tumor profile is extensive and covers the driver genes involved in various types of solid tumor cancers.

NeoGenomics chief medical officer and Research and Development director Dr Maher Albitar noted while the company do not believe that whole genome or exome NGS is ready for high throughput clinical laboratory testing, targeted NGS provides significant advantages over conventional technology.

"In fact, the more limited the number of genes analyzed, the more reliable the NGS testing. Our panel of 16 genes for MDS provides remarkable precision, reliability and sensitivity for the diagnosis, monitoring and management of patients with MDS, especially when performed on peripheral blood plasma.

"Next generation sequencing is allowing us to further establish plasma-based testing as a practical and more routine testing in hematologic neoplasms," Dr Albitar added.