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JAMA Pediatrics Study Highlights Cancer Risk Associated with CT Scans

Venaxis, Inc. (Nasdaq: APPY), an in vitro diagnostic company focused on obtaining FDA clearance and commercializing its CE Marked APPY1 Test, a rapid, protein biomarker-based assay for identifying patients at low risk for appendicitis, today announced its support of key findings from a large retrospective study that was published earlier this week in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Pediatrics. The study concluded, among other things, that the risk of radiation-induced solid cancers was highest for patients undergoing CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis and that abdominal/pelvic scans saw the most dramatic increase in use over the study period, especially among older children. Possible appendicitis was cited as a leading cause of abdominal/pelvic CT usage.

Importantly, the authors of the study concluded that reducing unnecessary CT scans in favor of other imaging or non-imaging approaches (if proven through research to be as effective), combined with effective radiation dose-reduction strategies, could dramatically reduce the number of radiation-induced cancers.

Steve Lundy, President and CEO of Venaxis, stated, “The findings of this large observational study are aligned with our focus – developing a blood-based APPY1 Test to aid physicians in identifying patients at low risk for acute appendicitis. We applaud the authors of the study for reporting these findings and for highlighting the urgent need for research to determine when the use of CT scans leads to improved health outcomes and when other imaging and non-imaging diagnostic techniques could be as effective. The APPY1 Test is designed to provide rapid, objective results and has demonstrated high negative predictive value for appendicitis in clinical studies. Venaxis’ goal with the APPY1 Test is to provide physicians with an additional tool that may allow for more conservative patient management, including reducing the number of CT scans.”

The JAMA Pediatrics study measured the rate of CT scan use (from 1996 to 2010) and the dose of ionizing radiation (for CT scans performed between 2001 and 2011) in children younger than 15 years of age, and estimated the lifetime attributable risks of certain cancers. The projected lifetime attributable risk of developing solid cancers was higher for patients who underwent CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis or spine than for patients who underwent other types of CT scans. The risk was highest for younger patients and for girls, with a radiation-induced solid cancer projected to result from every 300 to 390 abdomen/pelvis scans.

Study: The Use of Computed Tomography in Pediatrics and the Associated Radiation Exposure and Estimated Cancer Risk

Source: Venaxis

Merck and Luminex Corporation Enter Agreement to Develop Companion Diagnostic to Support Investigational BACE inhibitor Clinical Development Program for Alzheimer’s Disease

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Luminex Corporation (NASDAQ:LMNX) have signed a collaboration and license agreement to develop a companion diagnostic device that will be evaluated to help screen patients for recruitment into Merck’s clinical development program for MK-8931, a novel oral beta amyloid precursor protein site cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor and Merck’s lead investigational candidate for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Merck and GE Healthcare Collaborate on Use of Imaging Biomarkers for Investigational BACE inhibitor Clinical Development Program

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and GE Healthcare recently announced a clinical study collaboration, license and supply agreement for use of [18F]Flutemetamol, an investigational positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agent, to support Merck’s development of MK-8931, a novel oral beta amyloid precursor protein site cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor and Merck’s lead investigational candidate for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Somalogic Researchers Describe Revolutionary New Approach to Protein Analysis and Application to Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Even with astounding advances in genomic science, genetic analysis of disease remains largely a measure of risk rather than actual disease state. A truer and more immediate measure of health can be obtained by analysis of proteins, especially those that are “biomarkers” of disease state. Until now, proteomic technologies have lacked the sensitivity, scale, and robustness to untangle the vast differences in protein types and concentration levels that underlie complex human biology and disease. In two papers published on December 2 in the open-access scientific journal PLoS One, researchers at SomaLogic, Inc., and their collaborators describe a revolutionary new approach to biomarker detection and demonstrate its potential diagnostic power in a large-scale study that identifies a panel of biomarkers that can detect lung cancer in its early – and treatable – stages.

Name You Need To Know in 2011: The S100B Blood Test

It has been coined the signature wound of the Iraq war. Traumatic brain injury has been on the rise as improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan expose troops to more blasts and resultant head wounds than ever before.