Bionano Genomics Data is a Key to Understanding Cancer Genome Structures That Make Tumors Grow Aggressively

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bionano Genomics, Inc. (Nasdaq: BNGO) announced today a study published in the journal Nature Communications used its genome imaging technology to increase understanding of the genome structures that make tumors like glioblastoma multiforme, lung cancer and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) so aggressive. By combining Bionano’s Saphyr data with sequencing data using custom developed software, a team led by Professor Vineet Bafna of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) was able to reconstruct circular pieces of genetic material in cancer cells that allow the tumor to grow much more rapidly. The increased understanding of these circular DNA fragments can help in the development of targeted therapies, enable better classification of cancer subtypes, and contribute to a more efficient use of existing drugs by enabling truly personalized medicine.

For cancers to grow rapidly and escape the various mechanisms of the cell and immune system to keep malignant cell growth under control, they typically show mutations that disable the genes that inhibit replication of the cell and make extra copies of genes that stimulate replication of the cell. These extra copies of growth-enhancing genes are called oncogene amplifications, and they enable rapid tumor evolution and the rewiring of regulatory circuitry in the cell. These amplifications can happen inside the chromosomes that carry the oncogenes, but often they occur outside of the chromosomes, in circular mini-chromosomes called extra-chromosomal circular DNA, or ecDNA. Because these ecDNA structures are much smaller than regular chromosomes, they can replicate quickly and form a mechanism for the tumor to increase the speed with which it can replicate, grow, and spread.

To date, ecDNA structures have been difficult or impossible to fully characterize due to their complex and repetitive nature, containing numerous copies of the same genes side by side in structures that are difficult or impossible to resolve with short-read sequencing like NGS. By developing software called AmpliconReconstructor that combines NGS reads with optical mapping data generated by Saphyr, the UCSD team was able to fully resolve the ecDNA structures found in various cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme and lung cancer. Additionally, the team was able to resolve a chromosomal aberration called the Philadelphia Chromosome, the target of the first targeted cancer therapy Gleevec, and the structure of oncogene amplifications in kidney cancer, breast cancer and various other cancer cell lines.

Erik Holmlin, PhD, CEO of Bionano commented, “We are grateful to be part of this important study that helps improve our understanding of some of the deadliest and most aggressive cancers. At Bionano Genomics, our goal is to improve the lives of patients with genetic disease, autism, and cancer, and their families. Studies such as the one published in Nature Communications reaffirm our commitment to providing the best possible tools for genome analysis. We are excited that Dr. Bafna’s team developed software specifically designed to combine the benefits of Bionano’s optical mapping data with those of NGS. We believe only Saphyr’s ultra-long single molecule imaging technology can provide the long-range information needed to understand the complex nature of ecDNA, and can help scientists and oncologists build the diagnostics and therapies that we hope will make cancer treatments more effective and easier to tolerate.”

The study is available at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18099-z

About Bionano Genomics
Bionano is a genome analysis company providing tools and services based on its Saphyr system to scientists and clinicians conducting genetic research and patient testing, and providing diagnostic testing for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disabilities through its Lineagen business. Bionano’s Saphyr system is a platform for ultra-sensitive and ultra-specific structural variation detection that enables researchers and clinicians to accelerate the search for new diagnostics and therapeutic targets and to streamline the study of changes in chromosomes, which is known as cytogenetics. The Saphyr system is comprised of an instrument, chip consumables, reagents and a suite of data analysis tools, and genome analysis services to provide access to data generated by the Saphyr system for researchers who prefer not to adopt the Saphyr system in their labs. Lineagen has been providing genetic testing services to families and their healthcare providers for over nine years and has performed over 65,000 tests for those with neurodevelopmental concerns. For more information, visit www.bionanogenomics.com or www.lineagen.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes and are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things, Bionano’s contribution to understandings of ecDNA and its ability to help facilitate future diagnostics and therapies, Saphyr’s capabilities in comparison to NGS-based methods, and Saphyr’s potential as an indispensable tool for personalized medicine and furthering understanding of cancer in the medical community. Each of these forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected or implied in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such a difference include the risks and uncertainties associated with: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and the global economy; general market conditions; changes in the competitive landscape and the introduction of competitive products; changes in our strategic and commercial plans; our ability to obtain sufficient financing to fund our strategic plans and commercialization efforts; the loss of key members of management and our commercial team; and the risks and uncertainties associated with our business and financial condition in general, including the risks and uncertainties described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and in other filings subsequently made by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made and are based on management's assumptions and estimates as of such date. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of the receipt of new information, the occurrence of future events or otherwise.

CONTACTS
Company Contact:
Erik Holmlin, CEO
Bionano Genomics, Inc.
+1 (858) 888-7610
eholmlin@bionanogenomics.com

Investor Relations Contact:
Ashley R. Robinson
LifeSci Advisors, LLC
+1 (617) 430-7577
arr@lifesciadvisors.com

Media Contact:
Darren Opland, PhD
+1 (617) 733-7668
darren@lifescicomms.com

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