April 4, 2023, TORONTO — Becoming the first genomics lab to be accredited by three of the leading North American accreditation organizations positions OICR Genomics to generate new discoveries about what drives diseases like cancer and new, personalized ways to diagnose and treat them.
The lab earned a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate of accreditation in January 2023 for its whole genome and whole transcriptome sequencing assay, a comprehensive genetic test that can find all changes in the DNA of a tumour. This comes after accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) in 2021 and from Accreditation Canada Diagnostics (ACD) — formerly IQMH — in 2022.
CLIA regulates clinical lab testing in the U.S. and has stringent quality requirements for facilities, personnel training, information management, safety and analytical processes. U.S-based CAP is one of the most widely respected international lab accreditation organizations, while Canadian accreditor ACD evaluates labs against some of the strictest standards in the world.
“This unprecedented ‘trifecta’ of accreditation shows the lab’s commitment to the highest possible standards of quality and how OICR is leading the way in developing new precision genomic medicine,” says OICR President and Scientific Director Dr. Laszlo Radvanyi. “I congratulate the OICR Genomics team for setting the standard in next-generation sequencing and setting the stage for major innovations as well as taking this major step towards our quest to adopt whole genome/transcriptome sequencing as a mainstay for the clinical management of patients.”
Genomics has become one of the core disciplines for researching cancer and other diseases. Researchers are harnessing data from DNA and RNA sequencing to help detect diseases earlier than ever before and identify treatments that give patients the best possible chance at beating them. Understanding what is driving an individual’s cancer at the genetic level can reveal treatments that specifically target and disrupt those pathways. OICR Genomics has supported many cutting-edge research projects with a range of high-quality genomics services, and has spent several years building infrastructure and refining procedures to ensure it exceeds national and international standards and meets the needs of researchers now and into the future.
“Achieving and maintaining these accreditations has taken a lot of hard work and diligence,” says Dr. Carolyn Ptak, Genomics Program Manager and Quality Assurance Lead. “Our team has shown incredible dedication to quality and innovation, and we are all proud to be part of a laboratory that is internationally recognized for operating at the highest possible standard.”
With accreditations from CLIA, CAP and ACD, OICR Genomics can support academic and clinical research projects on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, generating data that can influence patient care as part of clinical trials and power innovations that transform precision medicine.
“This recognition should give academic and clinical researchers confidence they can trust OICR Genomics to deliver accurate, reproducible data for all varieties of research programs,” says Dr. Trevor Pugh, OICR Senior Investigator and Director of Genomics. “We are grateful for the close collaboration with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the broader University Health Network who helped shape and validate our clinical research tests, and we are excited for the innovative new projects these capabilities enable and for the impact clinical genomics will have on the health of Ontarians and people around the world.”
“Our government is focused on supporting the long-term economic growth of the province and building a strong future for Ontarians by making key investments in research and innovation,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Congratulations to OICR for achieving this impressive accreditation milestone, which will help the organization expand the scope of its work and take part in exciting new projects that have the potential for earlier cancer detection and improved treatments for cancer patients in Ontario.”
OICR Genomics is a part of the Joint Genomics Program of the University Health Network (UHN) and OICR, an integrated initiative to support basic, translational and clinical research.
OICR is a collaborative, not-for-profit research institute funded by the Government of Ontario. We conduct and enable high-impact translational cancer research to accelerate the development of discoveries for patients around the world while maximizing the economic benefit of this research for the people of Ontario. For more information visit http://www.oicr.on.ca.
The views expressed are those of OICR and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Province of Ontario.