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Scientists Unravel Resistance to Breast Cancer Treatment

Tamoxifen – used alongside traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy – blocks the female hormone oestrogen that, in certain breast cancers, is required by the tumour to grow; it has been shown to improve cancer survival rates by up to one third.

QIAGEN and Bayer HealthCare Partner to Develop Companion Diagnostics to Guide Treatment Decisions for Targeted Cancer Therapies

QIAGEN (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) and Bayer HealthCare today announced a collaboration agreement for the development and commercialization of companion diagnostics paired with novel Bayer HealthCare drugs, initially to enhance the treatment of various solid tumors. Companion diagnostics are tests that unlock molecular information from each patient’s tumor genome to guide treatment decisions with medications for cancers or other diseases. The parties will also collaborate on the development of novel technologies for patient profiling which may result in innovative research-use-only products for exploratory and translational medicine. Financial details were not disclosed.

Data Published Identify the Folate Receptor as a Potential Biomarker for Targeted Therapies in a Majority of Lung Cancers

Endocyte, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Market: ECYT), a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted small molecule drug conjugates (SMDCs) and companion imaging diagnostics for personalized therapy in cancer and other serious diseases, recently announced the publication of data showing that 72 percent of adenocarcinomas and 51 percent of squamous cell carcinomas of the lung were positive for the folate receptor (FR). Currently validated targeted therapies are effective in only a small minority of lung cancers so the FR may be an important molecular target for future lung cancer therapies. The data are published online in the journal Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

New US Patent Grant for ValiRx’s Cancer Screening Gene Biomarker

ValiRx Plc (AIM: VAL), a life science company with a focus on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine, is pleased to announce that a method for cancer screening, using specific gene biomarkers in the field of genetics and oncology, has recently received patent approval by the United States’ patent office.

The granting of this latest patent means that ValiRx now has biomarker patent protection in both the US and across Europe, alongside granted and pending patents for its therapeutic technologies across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

This latest patent concerns the method or process by which gene biomarkers can be used in the detection or identification of a patient’s susceptibility to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and also for improving treatment methods.

The use of biomarkers in oncology therapeutics is one of the fastest growing areas in cancer diagnosis and monitoring. In combination with specific therapeutic approaches, it is the growth of personalised medicine, particularly in cancer research, alongside support from regulatory agencies that are the key factors behind the increase in demand for biomarkers.

Personalised therapeutics are gaining popularity due to their ability to provide customised treatment to patients based on their genetic and medical profile. Since biomarkers help in predicting patient response to a compound, personalised medicines are increasingly using biomarkers to identify the patient population set that is more likely to respond to a particular drug therapy. Personalised medicines are also increasingly being used along with targeted cancer therapies and as personalised medicines gain more importance and popularity, the demand for suitable companion biomarkers is also expected to increase.

Dr Satu Vainikka, CEO, commented: “I am delighted we have received the US patent office’s approval for our gene biomarkers’ activity. This grant significantly strengthens our patent portfolio and it is a particularly pleasing endorsement, coming as it does from under the rigorous scrutiny of the US patent authorities. I am very pleased by the continuing validation of our technologies and of our approach to therapeutics and biomarkers themselves and I believe this patent grant further underlines the importance of a genetic approach to the management and detection of oncological diseases.”

Frost & Sullivan Honours PathXL with Enabling Technology Award

Based on its recent analysis of web-based software platforms for tissue analysis and quantification, Frost & Sullivan recognise PathXL (Northern Ireland) with the 2012 European Web-based Software Platforms Enabling Technology Award.