Quantcast

Industry news that matters to you.  Learn more

Archives for May 2013

Pfizer-KineMed Collaboration Extends to Target Novel Diabetes Pathways

KineMed Inc. (www.kinemed.com) today announced the renewal of a non-exclusive research collaboration with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) for the advancement of novel approaches towards metabolic disease, in particular Type II Diabetes. The collaboration will employ KineMed’s unique dynamic proteomics technology platform to map the impact of potential drug candidates on specific metabolic pathways.

Diabetes is an emerging global healthcare epidemic with an estimated 347 million people affected, according to the WHO. Diabetes is predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030 and total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years.

In the United States Type II diabetes affects over one quarter of Americans over the age of 65. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and is now also the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults.

Despite 50 years of drug research, over 60% of patients remain unresponsive to current therapies, requiring novel approaches to address fundamental metabolic processes in diabetes.

“We are very pleased to announce the renewal of this ongoing partnership in an important area of medicine that affects so many Americans. Powerful discovery and investigative abilities of novel disease pathways are key strengths of our translational platform,” said Dr. Scott Turner, Executive Vice-President, R&D at KineMed. “We look forward to continuing to work with Pfizer to accelerate and rapidly de-risk the advancement of novel compounds in pre-clinical and clinical trials.”

Source: Business Wire

One Mind for Research Receives Support from Wounded Warriors Project®

One Mind for Research announced recently that Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has pledged $3.5 million in support of One Mind’s “Gemini Program,” contingent upon One Mind securing additional funding. “The Gemini Program” is a multi-year study of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS).

One Mind is catalyzing collaboration between international research centers, industry, and government to accelerate the translation of basic science into breakthrough diagnostics and improved treatments for all brain diseases and injuries. The Gemini Program is the first major research project in this mission.

Scheduled to launch in 2013, this multi-country, multi-site program will create a large-scale database of individuals with TBI and PTS with rigorous biomarker (e.g., genetics, imaging) and clinical measures. Gemini will enroll and follow 3,000-5,000 patients with head trauma in a multiple year study. Research of this scale will yield results that can be very rapidly translated into improved patient outcomes.

“This grant marks a significant breakthrough for our organization,” said General Pete Chiarelli, (Ret.), Chief Executive Officer of One Mind for Research. “Our goal is to bring together public, private, and government resources to fund major new brain related research that can deliver vastly improved diagnostic tools and treatments to patients very quickly.”

Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress are the signature wounds of the current war and we know first-hand the profound and life-altering challenges wounded veterans face because of their effects,” said Steve Nardizzi, Executive Director, Wounded Warrior Project. WWP’s mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors and it is our hope that research like this will provide critical insight to improve the lives of those living with these invisible wounds of war.”

TBI affects an estimated 10 million people worldwide and more than 1.7 million in the U.S. every year. Up to 360,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered brain injuries. Over 53,000 Americans die every year due to TBI, and an estimated 5.3 million have lifelong disabilities caused by TBI.

PTS is the most prevalent wound associated with over 12 years of war — 50 percent of our most seriously wounded have PTS. The overall scale of PTS is immense: it is estimated to affect 8 percent of the population (25 million Americans) during their lifetime.

“We are very appreciative of this generous support from Wounded Warrior Project because it is a strong validation of One Mind’s strategy of accelerating brain research that will directly lead to improved patient outcomes, beginning with TBI and PTS, which have become such a burden on soldiers, veterans, and our entire society,” added One Mind CEO Chiarelli.

Source: One Mind from Research

Team Finds Markers Related to Ovarian Cancer Survival and Recurrence

Researchers at the University of Illinois have identified biomarkers that can be used to determine ovarian cancer survival and recurrence, and have shown how these biomarkers interact with each other to affect these outcomes. Their findings appear in the journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers try to find molecules called biomarkers that help determine a person’s likelihood of getting a disease or, if they have already been diagnosed, how far the disease has advanced. Genes, transcription factors and microRNAs are often used as biomarkers because these molecules can be heralds of disease or portents of susceptibility.

Genes are segments of DNA that code for proteins or other molecules that perform the functions of the cell. Transcription factors regulate these genes by binding to specific DNA sequences, preventing or inducing the genes to be “expressed” at higher or lower levels. MicroRNAs, as their name suggests, are small RNA molecules that regulate an intermediate stage of gene expression. Transcription factors and microRNAs also can regulate each other.

The relationships among transcription factors, microRNAs and target genes can be visualized as interconnected networks. These intricate webs are often used to determine how diseases such as cancer proceed. Analyzing how these networks function in cancer can offer insight into how tumor cells proliferate and differentiate, undergo (or resist) programmed cell death, and how likely they are to become invasive.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 22,240 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013, and 14,230 will die of the disease; this makes ovarian cancer the fifth most common cause of cancer death in women.

The high prevalence of ovarian cancer and ovarian cancer deaths in the U.S. prompted U. of I. animal sciences professor Sandra Rodriguez-Zas and doctoral researcher Kristin Delfino to search for biomarkers associated with ovarian cancer survival and recurrence.

“We knew that there are specific biomarkers that have been associated with ovarian cancer, but we were looking at whether we could more accurately predict survival or age at cancer recurrence considering hundreds of interacting biomarkers simultaneously,” Rodriguez-Zas said.

The team used data from the Cancer Genome Atlas, which contains information about ovarian cancer patients’ age, survival, cancer recurrence, treatment, tumor stage, tumor grade and genomic expression. The researchers then performed statistical tests to tie these factors to patients’ survival time, measured in months from diagnosis to death, and their recurrence time, measured in months from diagnosis to recurrence.

“The networks change for people who have different rates of survival, so we looked at what’s being expressed in high-survival patients compared to what’s being expressed in low-survival patients,” Delfino said.

The team was able to confirm the association of 21 microRNAs with ovarian cancer. They also found 838 target genes and 12 transcription factors associated with ovarian cancer survival and 734 target genes and eight transcription factors associated with ovarian cancer recurrence.

“We were able to find many biomarkers that held the same relationship with survival no matter the cancer treatment, as well as some that were unique in their relationship with survival depending on the treatment the patient had received,” Rodriguez-Zas said.

Delfino said that a network-based approach is more predictive of ovarian cancer survival and recurrence than a single-molecule-based perspective.

“We took a step back and looked at everything from a network point of view instead of just individually to see how the components interacted with each other and how the biomarkers were associated with ovarian cancer survival and recurrence,” Delfino said.

“This demonstrated that the consideration of networks of microRNAs, transcription factors, and target genes allows us to identify reliable indicators of cancer survival and recurrence and serves as the basis for effective prognostic tools,” Rodriguez-Zas said.

Delfino believes this study opens the door to the creation of less invasive diagnostic tests and more specialized treatment options for women with ovarian cancer.

“In the future we’d like to be able to just take a little sample of your DNA and be able to tell you what’s going to happen, what we can do to prevent it, and how to cut cancer off before it ever reaches that point,” Delfino said. “Everyone is different, and hopefully, we will be able to specify the treatment that will best treat the individual patient.”

Study: Transcription Factor-MicroRNA-Target Gene Networks Associated with Ovarian Cancer Survival and Recurrence

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Trio of Biomarkers May Help Identify Kidney Cancer in Early Stages

A new immunoassay that tests for the presence of three biomarkers appears to be a valid screening method for the early detection of malignant kidney cancer, according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Renal cell carcinoma, a malignant tumor arising from the kidney, is one of the most difficult forms of cancer to detect and treat properly because it remains silent until disseminating to other organs,” said Nam Hoon Cho, M.D., of the Department of Pathology at Yonsei University Health System in Seoul, Korea. “Furthermore, because imaging, which is high-cost, is seldom performed without any specific reasons, developing a blood-tumor biomarker is a great chance to detect the silent killer.”

The new immunoassay developed by Cho and colleagues from Genomine Inc. measured the levels of three potential biomarkers for kidney cancer: nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT), L-plastin (LCP1) and nonmetastatic cells 1 protein (NM23A).

Using this assay, the researchers measured concentrations of NNMT, LCP1 and NM23A in 189 plasma samples from 102 healthy controls and patients with benign tumors and 87 patients with kidney cancer. Plasma levels indicated that all three biomarkers were highly elevated in patients with kidney cancer. For example, the median level of NNMT concentration in healthy controls was 68 pg/mL compared with 420 pg/mL for patients with kidney cancer.

Next, the researchers tested the ability of the immunoassay to distinguish plasma samples from healthy controls and patients with kidney cancer using the same 189 plasma samples already tested. The results indicated that the three-marker assay was highly accurate. When it correctly identified 90 percent of the samples from healthy controls, it also correctly identified 94.4 percent of the samples from patients with kidney cancer.

To validate the accuracy of the test, the researchers blind tested an additional 100 plasma samples from 73 healthy controls and 27 patients with kidney cancer. In this analysis, 67 of the samples from the 73 healthy controls and all of the samples from patients with kidney cancer were classified correctly.

“If this biomarker is truly valid and accurate to detect renal cell carcinoma, a number of patients with renal cell carcinoma could potentially be saved through early diagnosis,” Cho said.

Cho and colleagues hope that this biomarker will soon be commercially available. They are currently working toward approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Study: Composite Three-Marker Assay for Early Detection of Kidney Cancer

Source: EurekAlert!