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Definiens and Advanced Cell Diagnostics Launch Software for Quantitative RNA In Situ Hybridization

Definiens AG, a healthcare company that advances personalized medicine through image analysis and digital pathology solutions, and Advanced Cell Diagnostics (ACD) of Hayward California, a leader in molecular pathology, announced recently the commercial launch of RNAscope® SpotStudio™, a custom-designed image analysis software application for ACD’s RNAscope®Assays to detect and quantify RNA biomarkers. By combining state-of-the-art image analysis and advanced in situ hybridization technologies, gene expression can be measured quantitatively at single cell resolution and interpreted by pathologists within context.

Ventana Receives Approval from China’s FDA for First Fully Automated IHC Companion Diagnostic Identifying ALK Protein Expression in Lung Cancer Patients

Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche Group, recently announced the approval of the VENTANA ALK immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) as a companion diagnostic to aid in the identification of patients for Pfizer’s CFDA-approved oncology product XALKORI® (crizotinib). The VENTANA ALK (D5F3) Rabbit Monoclonal Primary Antibody assay is designed to identify ALK-positive patients in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients1. The approval is based on a retrospective study that included 1100 Chinese subjects across three national hospitals where the VENTANA assay demonstrated 99.23 percent concordance with Abbott’s Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit.

Broad Institute and Bayer Join Forces to Develop Novel Treatment Options in Cancer Therapy

The Broad Institute has entered into a strategic alliance with Bayer Healthcare in the area of oncogenomics and drug discovery. The goal of this collaboration is to jointly discover and develop therapeutic agents that selectively target cancer genome alterations over a period of five years.

“We look forward to working together with our Bayer colleagues to translate scientific discoveries into novel cancer therapeutics,” said Professor Eric Lander, President and Director of Broad Institute. “The Broad’s deep expertise and knowledge in cancer genomics, chemical biology and drug discovery perfectly complement Bayer’s decades of experience in pharmaceutical development. We are thrilled to be working with Bayer in such a visionary collaboration.”

Oncogenomics is a promising field of oncology research that identifies and characterizes genes which are associated with cancer. Cancer is caused by the accumulation of DNA mutations which lead to uncontrolled cell proliferation and tumor formation. The goal of oncogenomics research is to identify new genes which, when mutated, stimulate or lose the ability to suppress tumor cell growth. These genes may provide new insights into cancer diagnosis, prediction of clinical outcomes, and new targets for cancer therapies. Targeting individual patient tumor mutations will allow for the development of more personalized cancer treatments.

“We are excited to collaborate with such a prestigious research institute as the Broad Institute which brings together researchers from Harvard, MIT, and the Harvard hospitals,” said Professor Andreas Busch, Head of Global Drug Discovery and Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer HealthCare. “The Broad Institute’s scientists have created impressive systematic catalogues of mutational changes across different types of tumors, laying a foundation for the development of new cancer therapies and diagnostics. The alliance is another significant step underlining our engagement in the field of oncology and personalized medicine.”

As part of the collaboration, the Broad Institute will share its oncogenomic expertise. Both parties will explore their compound libraries and use their screening platforms as well as medicinal chemistry expertise to benefit joint projects. The collaboration will be based on joint decision-making and the rights to the research findings are shared equally between the partners. Joint research and joint steering committees will be established for the initiation and selection of projects, and as governance structures. Bayer will have an option for an exclusive license for therapeutic agents at preclinical development stage. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Source: Broad Institute

NICE Recommends Genomic Health’s Oncotype DX® Test To Guide Chemotherapy Treatment Decisions For Qualified Early-Stage Invasive Breast Cancer Patients

Genomic Health, Inc. recently announced that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom has issued its final guidance recommending Oncotype DX® as the only multi-gene breast cancer test for use in clinical practice to guide chemotherapy treatment decisions for patients with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive, invasive breast cancer. Consistent with leading international breast cancer treatment guidelines, including ASCO®, NCCN®, ESMO® and St. Gallen, NICE’s recommendation recognizes the unparalleled evidence of the clinical validity of the Oncotype DX test and its ability to enable physicians and their patients to make more informed, individualized decisions.

“It is encouraging to see growing recognition of the value of genomic testing. Its provision has enhanced the care of breast cancer patients around the world and it will now be available as an option in the UK,” said David Miles, M.D., medical oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Northwood, Middlesex, United Kingdom. “NICE’s recommendation for the use of Oncotype DX in the UK is an important step forward, enabling physicians and patients to make better-informed treatment decisions based on the biology of an individual patient’s breast cancer.”

To date, more than 1,500 women in the UK have utilized the Oncotype DX test to help guide their treatment decisions. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, with almost 50,000 people diagnosed each year in the UK. Most of these patients are diagnosed with early-stage, invasive breast cancer and a significant number of them could benefit from this test under the NICE recommendation.

“The decision of whether or not to undergo chemotherapy is an extremely important and difficult one for patients, not only due to the many side effects associated with treatment, but also due to the hardship for the patient and her family and the loss of income due to days off work. Allowing patients and their physicians to make more personalized treatment decisions can help improve outcomes for the rising number of early-stage breast cancer patients in Europe,” said Kathi Apostolidis, vice president, European Cancer Patient Coalition, Brussels, Belgium, and a two-time breast cancer survivor, commenting on the NICE announcement. “We hope NICE’s decision will also inspire other European countries to provide broader access to novel diagnostics such as Oncotype DX, which allows informed decision making for sparing the burden of chemotherapy from those who do not need it.”

With data showing that only four out of 100 early-stage invasive breast cancer patients benefit from chemotherapy, the Oncotype DX test helps improve patient outcomes by personalizing treatment decisions through assessment of the risk of cancer recurrence and chemotherapy benefit.

“Given NICE’s rigorous review process and its influence throughout the region, we believe this decision brings us an important step closer to achieving our mission to improve the quality of treatment decisions for cancer patients across Europe and around the world,” said Steven Shak, M.D., executive vice president of research and development, Genomic Health. “Our extensive body of clinical evidence highlights the unique ability of our test to play a critical role in breast cancer treatment, while providing a positive impact on health systems worldwide. Based on NICE’s recommendation, we will work with NHS healthcare providers and commissioners to provide broad access to the Oncotype DX test for UK patients.”

The robust body of evidence supporting Oncotype DX includes 15 clinical studies in more than 6,000 patients; 18 decision impact studies from 10 countries, which consistently demonstrate an approximate 30 percent change in treatment recommendations; and more than 20 studies from nine countries, showing that the use of the test is cost-effective in all health systems analyzed.

Source: PR Newswire

Exosome Diagnostics Enters Collaboration Agreement with Lilly for Exosome Blood-Based Biomarker Discovery

Exosome Diagnostics recently announced it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) for biomarker discovery and validation using Exosome Diagnostics proprietary EXO50 nucleic acid extraction kit. Under the agreement, Lilly will gain early access to Exosome Diagnostics technology to help identify key gene mutations and expression levels in blood that may be correlated with drug response and disease recurrence. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Exosome Diagnostics technology may provide a unique opportunity to gain insight into the biology of complex conditions such as cancer and immune disorders,” said Andrew Schade, senior medical director, diagnostic and experimental pathology at Lilly. “Exosome technology enables biofluid molecular sampling and the ability to monitor disease progression in real time. As Lilly explores new ways to pursue patient tailoring, we’ll continue to work with partners to expand our capabilities.”

“Accessing high quality messenger and microRNA directly from frozen patient fluid samples offers a rapid, cost-effective route to identify and validate biomarkers, which may be correlated with drug response and disease recurrence,” said James McCullough, chief executive officer of Exosome Diagnostics. “Lilly has accumulated an extensive and well annotated clinical blood sample biobank that provides a unique opportunity to track target biomarkers through the clinical trial process and help overcome the limitations of stored biopsy tissue.”

Exosomes and other microvesicles are secreted by all cells into all biofluids, and provide a natural biological packaging and distribution mechanism for RNA and DNA. Exosome Diagnostics’ rapid exosome isolation and extraction technology produces high-quality RNA and DNA, including full length mRNA and microRNA, from small volumes of patient biofluids, such as blood (serum and plasma), urine and cerebrospinal fluid, for analysis by standard PCR, array and sequencing instruments. Analysis can be performed on fresh or frozen fluid samples, allowing for broad, flexible and convenient analyses of clinical trial samples, both in real-time and retrospectively, with no special preservation methods required. Exosomes and their protected nucleic acid contents are being investigated in a broad range of diseases including cancer, CNS disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, maternal/fetal medicine, and chronic kidney disease, among others. In July, QIAGEN and Exosome Diagnostics signed an agreement for the creation of High-Performance Biofluid Sample Preparation Kits for Personalized Healthcare Research which covers the exclusive supply of these products upon availability in 2014.

Source: Exosome Diagnostics