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ASCO and the CAP Release Updated Guideline on HER2 Testing in Breast Cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) recently issued a joint, updated guideline aimed at improving the accuracy and reporting of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) testing in patients with invasive breast cancer. The guideline update is based on a systematic review of medical research literature, providing oncologists and pathologists with detailed recommendations for how to test for HER2 overexpression, interpret the results, and recommend HER2-targeted therapies. The guideline, originally issued in 2007, is being published in ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) and the CAP’s Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. The joint guideline was prepared by an ASCO/CAP Update Committee consisting of experts in breast cancer and cancer biomarkers.

New Study Shows Circulating Tumor Cell Enumeration – as Part of Composite Biomarker Panel – May Serve as a Surrogate for Efficacy Response in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Janssen Diagnostics, LLC recently announced results from a study presented at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam, Netherlands, that demonstrated circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration using CELLSEARCH®, along with lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as part of a composite biomarker panel, was an efficacy-response surrogate for survival in managing patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The results show mCRPC patients with greater than or equal to five CTCs and an abnormal LDH level at 12 weeks of treatment have a poorer prognosis than those with lower CTC counts and normal LDH values, with a one- and two-year survival probability of 25 percent and 2 percent compared to 82 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Findings suggest therapeutic alternatives should be considered for patients in the high-risk category at 12 weeks.

Northwestern Medicine Enrolls First Participant in Midwest for Research Study of Personalized Vaccine for Aggressive Brain Tumors

Northwestern Medicine® recently joined a landmark clinical trial to investigate if a vaccine made from a patient’s own brain tumor is effective in slowing tumor progression and extending survival. The randomized phase II trial will study how well giving the study vaccine with or without Avastin (bevacizumab) works in treating patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The study is the largest randomized brain tumor vaccine trial ever funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and is chaired by Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, who joined Northwestern Memorial Hospital in July as the new chair of neurological surgery. The first participant in the Midwest, and only third in the country, was enrolled in the trial last week at Northwestern Memorial.

The trial will enroll more than 200 participants with recurrent glioblastoma that can be surgically removed. Following the participant’s surgery, the tumor is sent to an industry collaborator Agenus Inc., where the participant’s specific personalized vaccine, designated as HSPPC-96, is created. The vaccine is unique to the individual participant and is engineered to trigger an immune system response to kill tumor cells that may remain following surgery.

“This is truly personalized medicine where the patient’s own tumor is being used to help fight their cancer,” said Parsa, who is also the Michael J. Marchese Professor and chair of the department of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and part of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. “The vaccine provokes a tumor-specific immune response that is specific to that patient. The T cells, which are the part of the immune system that fights disease, tracks down the cancer cells and kills them.”

Parsa launched this area of research in 2006 at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Previous phases of this research have returned promising results finding that the vaccine extended survival for participants with glioblastoma when compared to standard therapies. In this next phase, researchers are seeking to understand if the vaccine is safe and more effective when given with Avastin, a drug that is known to shrink brain tumors and is a standard therapy for recurrent glioblastoma. Trial participants will be randomized to either receive the vaccine alone, concurrently with Avastin or Avastin only. Jeffrey Raizer, MD, co-director of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI), is the principal investigator for the trial at Northwestern.

“This vaccine therapy has the potential to extend the lives of patients who often have limited options when their tumor returns,” said Raizer, medical director of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial, associate professor of neurology at the Feinberg School and a member of the Lurie Cancer Center. “Previous results indicate that we may be able to extend survival longer by combining the therapy with other drugs, such as Avastin, that may boost the immune response of the vaccine.”

Each year, 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. This type of tumor is often resistant to standard therapies and median survival is approximately 15 months from the point of first diagnosis.

“This research does not present a cure for brain tumors, but instead a potential way to convert the cancer into a chronic disease – something comparable to diabetes that you may be able to live with and control with medication,” said Parsa.

A successful trial could lead to the vaccine potentially being approved to treat recurrent brain tumors, making it one of only a few approved therapeutic cancer vaccines.

“Vaccine therapy is rapidly emerging as a potential treatment for many types of cancers and we’re proud that Northwestern is part of this exciting research,” said Steven T. Rosen, MD, director of the Lurie Cancer Center, director of cancer programs at Northwestern Memorial, and Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School. “This field of research has the potential to offer safer and less toxic cancer therapies that can be personalized to each individual patient.”

The study is sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (ALLIANCE), a cooperative group of the NCI, and the vaccine is being developed by Agenus Inc. Parsa has not received any financial support or travel expense from the company.

To learn more about the clinical trial, call 312-695-2047 or email kskirnyk@nmff.org. Enrollment criteria can be viewed on the Lurie Cancer Center website.

Northwestern’s neurology and neurological surgery program is ranked as 7th in the country on the U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Best Hospitals specialty rankings and 1st in Chicago. This is the seventh consecutive year that Northwestern is the highest ranked neurological program in Illinois and Chicago. The departments of neurology and neurological surgery provide treatment for a full range of neurological disorders and offer patients the latest and most sophisticated treatment and surgical options. Our neurologists and neurosurgeons are actively engaged in clinical research to advance new therapies and uncover the causes and cures of neurological diseases.

Source: PR Newswire

NEBA Health Earns Patent for Integration of NEBA Biomarker with Clinician’s ADHD Evaluation

NEBA Health, LLC recently announced that Dr. Steven M. Snyder, Research and Development Vice President, has earned US Patent 8,509,884. The patent protects a key aspect of the NEBA system: integrating the biomarker with a clinician’s workup for ADHD. “NEBA is not a standalone diagnostic,” said Dr. Snyder. “After the clinician’s ADHD evaluation, NEBA helps them determine if the symptoms are due to ADHD or if further testing is warranted.”

“Integrating the NEBA biomarker with a clinician’s initial diagnostic impression can bring a clinician’s diagnosis more in line with that of multidisciplinary team,” said Dr. Snyder. Research supports that compared to a clinician alone, a multidisciplinary team is better able to determine if ADHD-like symptoms are accounted for by another condition.

In order to diagnose ADHD, a clinician not only observes criteria regarding behavioral symptoms and impairment, but also must determine whether symptoms would be better accounted for by another condition. Because ADHD shares symptoms with other disorders, the diagnosis may be difficult. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9.5% of all children and adolescents have an ADHD diagnosis. The ADHD diagnosis rate is increasing. CDC states that rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of 5.5% per year from 2003 to 2007.

“In their ADHD evaluation, clinicians may be challenged in the current medical environment to determine the primary diagnosis when overlapping symptoms are present,” said Howard Merry, President of NEBA Health. “We are delighted that the USPTO has awarded Dr. Snyder the patent. It covers NEBA’s core technology, and it’s another validation point for the 7 years we spent developing and validating NEBA.”

Source: PR Newswire

Genalyte and Barbara Davis Diabetes Center Collaborate to Advance Multiplexed Antigen Panel for Early Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes

Genalyte, Inc. recently announced the launch of its Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) antigen panel that runs on the Maverick Detection System. The Genalyte T1D antigen panel is the first multiplexed assay that measures seven autoantibodies associated with the destruction of pancreatic islet cells seen in type 1 diabetes. In a related development, Genalyte reported that it is collaborating with the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC) at the University of Colorado School of Medicine to further develop and test multiplexed antigen panels for the early detection of T1D.

The Genalyte T1D antigen panel was developed as part of the first phase of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant awarded to Genalyte to develop multiplexed assays for the early detection and monitoring of type 1 diabetes. The $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases also provides support for expansion of the approach to allow autoantibody response profiling by multiple criteria, which is expected to enhance the ability of researchers and clinicians to detect and monitor the development of the disease.

Martin Gleeson, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Genalyte, noted, “The pioneering work of Drs. George Eisenbarth and Liping Yu at BDC established assays for the measurement of islet autoantibodies. These rogue elements of the immune system eventually destroy the pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin. The unique capabilities of our Maverick detection platform have the potential to provide researchers and clinicians with tools to detect and track this process from an early stage, when interventions to interrupt the disease process may be feasible.”

An estimated three million individuals in the U.S. have T1D, an autoimmune disorder that leads to life-long dependence on insulin injections. New disease-modifying therapies may have the potential to reduce or stop the destruction of islet cells in patients at risk of developing T1D. The availability of tools to identify these patients early in the disease process would facilitate the development and use of these preventative therapies.

“We are pleased to offer our innovative T1D antigen panel to diabetes researchers worldwide at the same time that we are working with Dr. Liping Yu and his lab at the Barbara Davis Diabetes Center to expand the utility of the approach,” added Dr. Gleeson. “BDC is a long-time leader in the quest to develop curative therapies for type 1 diabetes, and we are delighted to collaborate with them to develop the tools that may help make this dream a reality.”

The Genalyte T1D antigen panel requires only a 2 to 5 μL serum or plasma sample and provides results in less than 15 minutes, without the use of dyes, fluorescent probes or radioactive labels. The T1D panel measures autoantibodies to insulin, proinsulin, GAD 65, GAD 67, IA-2 (PTPRN, ICA512), phogrin (PTPRN2, IA-2ß) and ZnT8 (SLC30A8). For more information, visit http://genalyte.com/maverick-type-1-diabetes-t1d-assay-kit/.

Other commercially available tests for the Maverick Detection System include MT-ADA, ENA 4, ENA 6 and ANA 14 assay kits. Additionally, Genalyte offers researchers a Custom Spotting Service that loads proteins supplied by customers, such as antibodies, peptides, biomarkers, cytokines and antigens, on to standard-format Genalyte chips that are ready to be run on the Maverick System.

Maverick assays are currently available for research use only.

Source: Genalyte