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Enzymatics Launches Archer Targeted Sequencing Technology to Dramatically Enhance Gene Mutation Identification and Discovery

Enzymatics, Inc., a leading producer of molecular biology reagents, kits, assays and software, recently unveiled Archer™ Targeted Sequencing technology, which dramatically enhances gene mutation identification and discovery with high sensitivity and reduced costs. The technology was announced during the Advances in Genome Biology & Technology (AGBT) conference, which is recognized throughout the sequencing community as a cornerstone for the discussion of genomics research.

Mayo Clinic Researchers Identify Biomarker for Smoker’s Lung Cancer

Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that a specific protein pair may be a successful prognostic biomarker for identifying smoking-related lung cancers. The protein — ASCL1 — is associated with increased expression of the RET oncogene, a particular cancer-causing gene called RET. The findings appear in the online issue of the journal Oncogene.

“This is exciting because we’ve found what we believe to be a ‘drugable target’ here,” says George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic molecular medicine researcher and senior author on the study. “It’s a clear biomarker for aggressive adenocarcinomas. These are the fast-growing cancer cells found in smokers’ lungs.”

ASCL1 is known to control neuroendocrine cell development and was previously linked to regulation of thyroid and small cell lung cancer development, but not smoking-related lung cancer. The research also showed that patients with ASCL1 tumors with high levels of the RET oncogene protein did not survive as long as ASCL1 patients with low levels of RET.

When researchers blocked the ASCL1 protein in lung cancer cell lines expressing both genes, the level of RET decreased and tumor growth slowed. This leads researchers to believe this mechanism will be a promising target for potential drugs and a strong candidate for clinical trials.

The co-authors of the study include Farhad Kosari, Ph.D.; Cristiane Ida, M.D.; Marie Christine Aubry, M.D.; Lin Yang, Ph.D.; Irina Kovtun, Ph.D.; Janet Schaefer Klein; Yan Li, M.D.; Sibel Erdogan; Sandra Tomaszek, M.D.; Stephen Murphy, Ph.D.; Lynn Bolette; Christopher Kolbert; Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D.; and Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic.

The research was supported by a Waterman Biomarker Discovery grant and by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.

Study: ASCL1 and RET expression defines a clinically relevant subgroup of lung adenocarcinoma characterized by neuroendocrine differentiation [Oncogene]

Source: Mayo Clinic

Berg Partners With Department of Defense Research Center and Military Medical Foundation to Advance Prostate Cancer Research

Berg, a biopharmaceutical company committed to uncovering health solutions through a data-driven, biological research approach, announced today an ambitious new partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) and The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) to offer hope, and possibly one day a cure, for the 238,590 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

“The CPDR has embarked on one of the most comprehensive prostate cancer research programs in the world and we are honored to be working with such a forward-thinking organization,” said Niven R. Narain, Co-Founder, President and CTO of Berg. “This collaboration is an ideal marriage of the CPDR’s extensive prostate cancer expertise and Berg’s unparalleled ability to drive a deeper level of biological understanding. Together, we have the potential to change the meaning of a prostate cancer diagnosis, and hopefully prognosis, while exemplifying how industry and government can work together to enact real change in public health.”

As part of this partnership, Berg and the CPDR will take a data-driven approach to drive molecular intelligence of prostate cancer by uncovering more accurate biomarkers and better therapies for patients. Berg will lend its expertise in computational biology and its proprietary Interrogative Biology™ Platform to analyze the CPDR’s extensive supply of prostate cancer data.

“Innovative collaborations, like this one with Berg, are the wave of the future in scientific discovery, and our goal is to illuminate actionable insights from the high volume of prostate cancer data we have generated to move science forward in a significant way,” said Army Colonel (ret) David G. McLeod, M.D., Director, and Albert Dobi, Ph.D., Associate Director at the CPDR.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-cutaneous cancer in men and is the second most common cause of male death from cancer. In 2012, approximately 238,590 men in the U.S. were diagnosed with prostate cancer and an estimated 28,170 died from the disease. In addition, major population disparities in prostate cancer incidence and mortality need to be addressed through new diagnostic and prognostic marker discoveries.

Source: Berg Pharma

One Mind for Research Receives Support from Wounded Warriors Project®

One Mind for Research announced recently that Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has pledged $3.5 million in support of One Mind’s “Gemini Program,” contingent upon One Mind securing additional funding. “The Gemini Program” is a multi-year study of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS).

One Mind is catalyzing collaboration between international research centers, industry, and government to accelerate the translation of basic science into breakthrough diagnostics and improved treatments for all brain diseases and injuries. The Gemini Program is the first major research project in this mission.

Scheduled to launch in 2013, this multi-country, multi-site program will create a large-scale database of individuals with TBI and PTS with rigorous biomarker (e.g., genetics, imaging) and clinical measures. Gemini will enroll and follow 3,000-5,000 patients with head trauma in a multiple year study. Research of this scale will yield results that can be very rapidly translated into improved patient outcomes.

“This grant marks a significant breakthrough for our organization,” said General Pete Chiarelli, (Ret.), Chief Executive Officer of One Mind for Research. “Our goal is to bring together public, private, and government resources to fund major new brain related research that can deliver vastly improved diagnostic tools and treatments to patients very quickly.”

Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress are the signature wounds of the current war and we know first-hand the profound and life-altering challenges wounded veterans face because of their effects,” said Steve Nardizzi, Executive Director, Wounded Warrior Project. WWP’s mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors and it is our hope that research like this will provide critical insight to improve the lives of those living with these invisible wounds of war.”

TBI affects an estimated 10 million people worldwide and more than 1.7 million in the U.S. every year. Up to 360,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered brain injuries. Over 53,000 Americans die every year due to TBI, and an estimated 5.3 million have lifelong disabilities caused by TBI.

PTS is the most prevalent wound associated with over 12 years of war — 50 percent of our most seriously wounded have PTS. The overall scale of PTS is immense: it is estimated to affect 8 percent of the population (25 million Americans) during their lifetime.

“We are very appreciative of this generous support from Wounded Warrior Project because it is a strong validation of One Mind’s strategy of accelerating brain research that will directly lead to improved patient outcomes, beginning with TBI and PTS, which have become such a burden on soldiers, veterans, and our entire society,” added One Mind CEO Chiarelli.

Source: One Mind from Research

QIAGEN Adds to Pipeline of Personalized Healthcare Diagnostics through Agreements for Promising New Biomarkers

QIAGEN N.V. (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) announced this week three separate agreements that add multiple biomarkers to QIAGEN’s deep development pipeline of diagnostics for Personalized Healthcare applications to guide treatments with various medicines based on a patient’s genomic information.