Bayer Pharmaceuticals and The Life Raft Group announced a collaboration to help provide access to comprehensive genomic testing for gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) patients.

“By offering comprehensive genomic testing with no charge, many patients will have the opportunity to know what genes are driving their GIST and benefit from genetic-informed care,” Denisse Montoya, patient registry director at The Life Raft Group said. “Results from this testing collaboration will help us understand more traits and patterns within GIST that will help us with our aim of accelerating GIST cancer research.”

The new partnership will help make advanced next-generation testing available to identify mutations such as neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusions that have approved treatments in the US. 

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To qualify for the program, patients have to be a resident of the US, be or become a part of The Life Raft GIST Patient Registry, and have a treating oncologist. They must also not have had any prior comprehensive genomic testing or been previously identified with wildtype c-KIT or PDGFRA from mutational testing.

Healthcare professionals who have eligible patients can get additional information about the program at The Life Raft Group’s website.

“As part of our commitment to precision oncology, we believe identifying NTRK patients early through comprehensive genomic testing is a critical step in the cancer diagnosis of oncology patients experiencing metastatic disease, as it helps physicians understand the underlying drivers of tumor growth and can inform the treatment approach,” Iain Webb, MD, vice president, US Medical Affairs, Oncology at Bayer said.

The Life Raft Group is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing resources to educate patients with GIST and launch initiatives to help improve patient outcomes. This collaboration highlights the role advocacy groups can have in bridging the gap between researchers and patient groups.

Read more about GIST patient education

“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking opportunity to work with great organizations to pave the road towards precision medicine and to help us to reach our goal of increasing the testing rate among GIST patients,” Montoya said.


Bayer Pharmaceuticals and The Life Raft Group, a non-profit, announce innovative collaboration to accelerate cancer research for GIST patients. News Release. Bayer Pharmaceuticals; November 8, 2021.