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As Michael J. Fox Returns to Primetime, His Research Foundation Urgently Pursues the Cure for Parkinson’s

Last month, Michael J. Fox returned to television as the star of his own sitcom after more than two decades living with Parkinson’s disease. Fox’s decision to return to primetime has injected Parkinson’s into the national conversation — a conversation already transformed by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), which the actor launched in 2000 with the exclusive goal of funding research to speed a cure for the disease.

Genewiz, Inc. Announces Collaboration with BeiGene, Ltd.

GENEWIZ, Inc., leading global genomics service provider, recently announced a collaboration with BeiGene, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of innovative oncology treatment. The two companies will work together to accelerate cancer biomarker discovery, which will later aid drug target identification.

Headquartered in Beijing, BeiGene has established more than one hundred patient-derived primary tumor models in-house as part of their portfolio of oncology target therapies in early stage development. Utilizing OncoGxOne™ Discovery cancer panels, BeiGene will have the ability to identify and understand genetic variations in prevalent cancers throughout China and the Asia-Pacific region.

“Our collaboration with GENEWIZ and application of the OncoGxOne™ cancer panels will enable characterization of primary tumor models at the genetic level, with a focus on aberrations in cancer related genes,” stated Dr. Lai Wang, Head of Discovery Biomarkers, BeiGene.

“Due to the unique ability to detect aberrations including gene fusions and copy number variance (CNV), using OncoGxOne™ Discovery cancer panels we have capabilities to identify novel mutations present in BeiGene’s primary cancer tumor models,” commented Dr. Guanghui Hu, Vice President of Translational Genomics. “Later, this invaluable information can be used for cancer diagnosis and treatment, which will have a direct impact on patient treatment and quality of life.”

“We believe that this collaboration will strongly support our translational research and biomarker discovery,” asserted Dr. Wang.

Source: Genewiz

Biomarker May Identify Neuroblastomas with Sensitivity to BET Bromodomain Inhibitors

Neuroblastoma, the most common malignant tumor of early childhood, is frequently associated with the presence of MYCN amplification, a genetic biomarker associated with poor prognosis. Researchers have determined that tumors containing MYCN amplification are sensitive to a new class of drugs, BET bromodomain inhibitors.

The researchers made this discovery in a preclinical study, which was funded in part by a Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grant and was published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“BET bromodomain inhibitors are a class of drugs that many researchers are hopeful may offer a new therapeutic option for treating patients with certain cancers,” said Kimberly Stegmaier, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, Mass. “The challenge has been identifying biomarkers that can help direct clinical translation of these drugs by pinpointing those patients with the highest likelihood of response.”

To identify genetic biomarkers of responsiveness to BET bromodomain inhibitors, Stegmaier and colleagues screened more than 600 cancer cell lines with known genetic characteristics for sensitivity to a prototypical BET bromodomain inhibitor.

Using this high-throughput, cell-based screening process, the researchers found that neuroblastoma cells in which the MYCN gene was amplified were sensitive to BET bromodomain inhibitors.

“Neuroblastoma is a devastating childhood cancer, and only a minority of children with high-risk disease will be cured with currently available treatments,” Stegmaier said. “Prior research has shown that MYCN amplification is common in neuroblastoma, but it has been an elusive drug target.”

To further validate their findings, the researchers tested a BET bromodomain inhibitor, from the laboratory of James E. Bradner, M.D., at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, using cultured MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell lines and three animal models of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Together, they found that the drug decreased levels of MYCN protein in cultured cells, and that this led to impaired cell growth and cell death. In each animal model, including a mouse model of neuroblastoma that is known to be resistant to many standard therapies, the drug was shown to have anti-tumor effects and to prolong survival.

“My Stand Up To Cancer grant, which focused on modulating difficult drug targets in childhood cancers, was instrumental to us being able to do this exciting work,” Stegmaier said. “These types of studies are generally considered high-risk, particularly because they start with unbiased screening, and they are generally less likely to be supported by traditional sources of funding.”

Study: Targeting MYCN in Neuroblastoma by BET Bromodomain Inhibition

Source: EurekAlert!

Cytokine Antibody Array Assays Developed by RayBiotech, Inc. Used to Identify Key Cancer Cell Chemoresistance Pathway

RayBiotech, Inc. announced today that several antibody-based biomarker screening assays developed by the company were utilized to identify a critical pathway involved in chemotherapeutic resistance acquired by melanoma cancer cells.

Specifically, the RayBio® G-Series 4000 and the RayBio® L-Series 507 cytokine antibody arrays allowed the characterization of a specific pathway associated with the cancer cells’ ability to develop resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. Utilizing RayBiotech’s antibody arrays, the authors discerned that the microenvironment of a melanoma tumor plays a crucial role in modulating resistance to certain cancer drugs. In addition, the arrays helped to identify individual factors acting upon cancer cells that are both necessary and sufficient to drive chemoresistance. These studies revealed unique biochemical and molecular targets for possible therapeutic intervention for the treatment and management of melanoma. The seminal research was published in Nature (Nature. 2012 Jul 26; 487:500-4).

Commenting on the research, RayBiotech’s President and Chief Operating Officer Rani Huang stated, “The findings of this research have comprehensively outlined a novel mechanism behind the acquisition of chemoresistance by one of the deadliest forms of cancer. We are pleased that RayBiotech’s antibody arrays played important roles in chemoresistance pathway characterization. This is a perfect example of how our high-content screening tools can facilitate potential drug target identification.”

Study: Tumour micro-environment elicits innate resistance to RAF inhibitors through HGF secretion

Source: Market Wire

Cleveland BioLabs Announces Publication of Studies Identifying Biomarkers of CBLB502’s Efficacy as a Radiation Countermeasure

Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. (Nasdaq:CBLI) recently announced the online publication of studies identifying biomarkers of CBLB502’s efficacy as a radiation countermeasure in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, a leading peer-reviewed research journal in the field of pharmacology. The reported studies were conducted by scientists of Cleveland BioLabs in collaboration with researchers at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute and the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.