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OGT Launches PGS Array to Improve the Chances of Successful IVF

Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), provider of innovative genetics research and biomarker solutions to advance molecular medicine, has announced the launch of a new pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) array aimed at improving the chances of successful in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The array detects chromosome number abnormalities (aneuploidy) across all 24 human chromosomes using DNA amplified from a single cell from an early-stage embryo. This allows selection of an embryo with a normal chromosomal content.

The number of women receiving IVF has increased steadily, however the percentage of IVF treatments resulting in viable pregnancies is still comparatively low with chromosomal aneuploidy a leading genetic cause of unsuccessful IVF. It has been reported that 75% of eggs in women over 37 and 23% of eggs in younger women are chromosomally abnormal1.

OGT’s CytoSure™ Single Cell Aneuploidy array is the first commercially available oligonucleotide aCGH product designed specifically for PGS. The array is sensitive enough to work with small amounts of amplified DNA from a single cell from an early-stage embryo. Unlike technologies such as fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), the array can detect aneuploidies across the whole genome. The array allows eight samples to be run simultaneously, which is more than existing bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) aneuploidy arrays, minimising sample-to-sample variation by reducing technical noise.

The array is complemented by OGT’s CytoSure Interpret Software which analyses the data generated to produce simple, easy-to-use results. The ability to clearly identify aneuploidy is vital to make a confident and informed decision as to the chromosomal content of an embryo. The array has also been research-validated to investigate aneuploidies in first polar bodies, single blastomeres and trophectoderm biopsies.

Dr Mike Evans, CEO, OGT said, “With the launch of the CytoSure Single Cell Aneuploidy array we are moving into a new and valuable area both as a company and in the wider sense of seeking to improve reproductive health. The superior resolution, throughput and full chromosome coverage of our array allows improved identification of aneuploidy. We are hopeful that this new product will contribute significantly to helping potential parents maximise their chances of IVF success.”

Source: Oxford Gene Technology

Genome Institute of Singapore and Sengenics Enter Into Partnership for Early Detection of Cancer Cells

The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and Sengenics recently announced a partnership for cancer biomarker discovery with the aim to identify and validate auto-antibodies that can be used to detect early-stage cancers.

The partnership leverages on Sengenics’ strategic partner, Oxford Gene Technology’s (OGT) proprietary proteomics microarray platform− considered to be a world-first, as all the proteins on the microarray are full-length, correctly folded and hence functional. The unique components of the technology will enable researchers to identify auto-antibody interactions in the blood before the cancer reaches an advanced stage.

The initial GIS-Sengenics collaboration will focus on two key cancers this year that are highly prevalent in the region− gastric and breast cancers.

“Given the performance and track record of the OGT protein array technology, we are excited at the potential of discovering both novel and existing biomarkers for these two important cancers,” said Dr Arif Anwar, Executive Director at Sengenics.

Johan Poole-Johnson, Sengenics Commercial Director added, “Our end-goal is to transfer the biomarker signatures identified specific to Singaporean genetic profiles onto a low-cost prognostic test. We envisage to complete the first phase of the project within 12 months.”

GIS Executive Director Prof Ng Huck Hui said, “By combining and cross-correlating the new biomarkers identified with our existing proprietary genomic data, we can potentially develop a new range of powerful oncology prognostic tests specific to the Singaporean population. Early and timely detection of cancers is a key strategy that we are pursuing for our Stratified Oncology programme. We are very pleased to work closely with Sengenics in this partnership.”

As part of the collaboration initiative, Sengenics will establish its research biomarker discovery facility at GIS in 2013.

Source: Sengenics

Caris Life Sciences ASCO Presentation Highlights the Utility of Molecular Profiling for the Management of Rare and Aggressive Cancers

Caris Life Sciences™, a leading biosciences company focused on fulfilling the promise of personalized medicine, presented findings yesterday at the 2013 ASCO annual meeting from the analysis of its Caris Molecular Intelligence™ database. This database examined the results of molecular profiling of both common and rare cancer types for the identification of potentially clinically actionable targets.

For the purposes of this study, 42,000 patient tumors were analyzed in total, covering 150 histological subtypes received from more than 6,400 physicians worldwide. Furthermore, 14,700 of these cases, or 35 percent of the tumors profiled, are typically categorized as “rare” tumors, a patient segment that is typically underserved by current guidelines and where molecular profiling has the potential to significantly impact patient care.

Breaking the data down by tumor type, these findings included profiling the following tumor types:

  • 6,000-plus Ovarian cancers
  • 5,000-plus Breast cancers
  • 6,000-plus Non-small-cell lung cancers
  • 5,000-plus Colorectal cancers
  • 2,000-plus Pancreatic cancers
  • 14,000-plus Rare cancers

Caris has remained technology-agnostic in its approach to tumor profiling, employing a wide range of profiling technologies to uncover a broad array of key biomarkers, based upon review of the latest clinical literature showing correlations to known therapies. Technologies utilized for this comprehensive database included mutational analysis by Sanger Sequencing, Next-Generation Sequencing, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Gene Copy Number alterations and translocations by Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization/Chromogenic In Situ Hybridization (FISH/CISH), Methylation analysis, and protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC).

“To date, Caris has profiled nearly 50,000 patients, which is the largest and most comprehensive collection of biomarker profiles in the industry today,” said Zoran Gatalica , M.D., DSc, Executive Medical Director at Caris Life Sciences, and a lead researcher in this study. “This study provided critical insights into the distribution of common and rare genetic and protein alterations, with direct and potential treatment implications. Our multi-technology approach to tumor profiling has been critical to building this extensive database, as it provides the most meaningful biomarker analysis and thorough interrogation of the cancer pathways.”

Daniel Von Hoff , M.D., FACP, of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Ariz., presented results from its study, Integrating Molecular Profiling Into Cancer Treatment Decision Making: Experience With Over 35,000 Cases, at this year’s ASCO annual meeting.

“Because of the size and depth of this database, these data points hold significant potential to detect rare molecular aberrations and biomarker targets in patients with common or rare cancers,” said Dr. Von Hoff , Physician in Chief and Director of Translational Research at TGen; Professor of Medicine at both Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale and the University of Arizona College of Medicine; and Chief Scientific Officer at Scottsdale Healthcare and US Oncology. “The developmental and potential clinical applicability and relevance of tumor profiling is particularly compelling in cases of rare or resistant tumors, where treatment guidelines are more limited and current clinical trial data is often insufficient.” Dr. Von Hoff’s presentation was held Sunday, June 2, 2013, at 8:15 a.m. at E-354 B.

Source: PR Newswire

PerkinElmer Introduces New Chemical Intelligence Capabilities for Accelerating the Lead Discovery Process

PerkinElmer, Inc., a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment, is introducing the newest version of Lead Discovery for the TIBCO Spotfire® software platform at the Company’s Revolutionaries for Global Health Summit. The new functionality of Lead Discovery 5.1 combined with the TIBCO Spotfire® software’s advanced data visualization and analysis capabilities bring a new level of chemical intelligence to the informatics platform for advanced scientific discovery.

PerkinElmer’s Lead Discovery™ 5.1 enhances the TIBCO Spotfire® software data analysis capabilities with new functionality built specifically with chemists in mind. Based on PerkinElmer’s industry-leading ChemDraw® drawing tool, the chemical intelligence in Lead Discovery provides scientists using TIBCO Spotfire® software with extensive chemical structure searching and visualization. Now scientists are able to dynamically filter their experimental data sets by chemical structure and pinpoint promising structural features and scaffolds in the output from their medicinal and combinatorial chemistry programs. The new technology enables users to mine their chemical databases to identify more compounds that have similar chemical structures, broadening their potential pool of candidates based on known properties and shortening their time to discovery of a viable candidate or lead.

“Through our relationship with TIBCO we are able to expand the range and depth of the TIBCO Spotfire® platform to serve the rapidly evolving needs of the scientific research community,” said Michael Stapleton, general manager, PerkinElmer Informatics. “With Lead Discovery 5.1, chemists will be able to explore their data sets in the context of visual chemical structures and as a result quickly filter to find the chemical compounds that are most promising to them. This capability will help them gain the critical insights they need to accelerate decisions on which compounds to pursue, while significantly reducing many of the typical technical bottlenecks to understanding data.”

In addition to dynamic, structure-based filtering, another key functionality of Lead Discovery 5.1 is that it automatically analyzes and displays R-groups (group side chains in chemical structure diagrams) or substituent variations on similar chemical scaffolds. These chemical variations have significant impact on dose response and side effects as they affect how the molecule interacts with a target. Using the new informatics tool, scientists can quickly isolate the variables to identify and optimize promising compound candidates.

“I foresee Lead Discovery becoming a heavily utilized aspect of our discovery scientists’ use of the TIBCO Spotfire® software,” said Dr. Daniel C. Weaver, manager of scientific computing at Array BioPharma Inc. “The capability to perform structure filtering and R-group analysis in real time will help drive compound series prioritization and structure activity relationship (SAR) analysis. This is critical to narrowing down the range of compounds that we are evaluating and helps to accelerate our ability to find the most promising candidates for our research.”

The Revolutionaries for Global Health Summit is PerkinElmer’s annual forum for leading researchers and physicians to network and share best practices in both science and business and participate in cutting-edge discussions to help lead to better prevention, detection and treatment of disease. At the Summit, several important presentations will be made by renowned users of the TIBCO Spotfire® software, and a hands-on workshop will allow attendees to learn how the software can impact their own research.

PerkinElmer leverages its deep scientific knowledge and expertise in the development of the most comprehensive suite of scientific informatics and software solutions – from instrument generated data, to enterprise solutions to mobile applications. Built by scientists for scientists, PerkinElmer’s integrated business-wide information management system provides companies and academic institutions with the necessary tools to aggregate, search, mine, analyze and visualize critical data so that they can turn data into actionable insights in an automated, predictive and scalable way. For more information, visit www.perkinelmer.com/informatics

Source: PerkinElmer

OGT Marks World Lupus Day with Announcement of Novel Biomarker Panel

Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), provider of innovative genetics research and biomarker solutions to advance molecular medicine, has today announced the development of a novel autoantibody biomarker panel for improved diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

The panel has been developed in partnership with King’s College London, utilising OGT’s proprietary protein array platform technology. The platform detects autoantibodies, a class of proteins that have been shown to precede clinical symptoms of SLE by several years. It also accurately distinguishes between SLE and ‘confounding diseases’ such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The biomarker panel, which was originally identified using a North American sample cohort, has been rigorously validated in two independent sample cohorts comprising over 450 European, Afro-Caribbean, and confounding disease samples. The panel maintains a high sensitivity and specificity across all cohorts studied.

SLE affects at least five million people worldwide, over 90% of whom are women. The figure may be higher as SLE is notoriously challenging to diagnose with widely variable symptoms which are inconsistent in patients. Current diagnosis is usually performed by comparing a patient’s symptoms against 11 pre-set criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology. If the patient presents any four of the symptoms simultaneously or serially on two separate occasions, they are classified as having SLE. Typically it takes several years and the involvement of many clinicians to diagnose an SLE patient.

Existing laboratory tests include antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing and anti-double stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) testing but their specificity or sensitivity is too low to support the diagnosis or classification of SLE without additional data. The OGT panel would allow for earlier and more accurate diagnosis than existing tests addressing a clear unmet medical need.

Dr Mike Evans, CEO at OGT said, “SLE is a truly debilitating disease that is particularly challenging to diagnose. Our novel diagnostic biomarker panel is more sensitive and specific than existing laboratory tests and it is our hope that, by correctly identifying the presence of SLE at an earlier stage, patients will receive faster access to the most appropriate treatment. We are pleased with the progress of our biomarker portfolio, which also includes advanced programmes in prostate and colorectal cancer, and we are currently evaluating potential partners to develop diagnostic tests based on the SLE biomarkers.”

Professor Tim Vyse, Division of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at King’s College London said: “The OGT SLE panel represents a big step forward in lupus genetic testing and the outcome of the programme so far has been very encouraging.”

OGT is also in discussions with SLE drug developers regarding potential prognostic applications of the biomarker set to predict the occurrence and frequency of relapse, or ‘flares’, so that treatment regimens can be adjusted accordingly and patient well-being maximised.

OGT and King’s will present the results of the programme at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Meeting from 12-15 June 2013 (www.eular.org).

Source: Oxford Gene Technology