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Metabolic Protein Launches Sugar Feast that Nurtures Brain Tumors

Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have tracked down a cancer-promoting protein’s pathway into the cell nucleus and discovered how, once there, it fires up a glucose metabolism pathway on which brain tumors thrive.

They also found a vital spot along the protein’s journey that can be attacked with a type of drug not yet deployed against glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer. Published online by Nature Cell Biology, the paper further illuminates the importance of pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) in cancer development and progression.

Metamark Genetics Completes Proof-of-Concept for Protein-based Prostate Cancer Test

Metamark Genetics, Inc., a privately held oncology molecular diagnostics company, today announced the successful completion of proof-of-concept (POC) for its biomarker prognostic test for prostate cancer. The Metamark test is being developed to help physicians more accurately determine whether a male’s prostate cancer is slow-growing or aggressive, based on tumor tissue biopsy.

In its study of 500 patients, Metamark replicated the results of a 4-protein test that accurately predicts prostate cancer progression and death following removal of the prostate, as previously published in the journal Nature (Ding, Z. H. et al. February 2011). Using a proprietary algorithm on a fully automated platform, Metamark performed a prospective analysis on retrospectively collected data from a radical prostatectomy cohort that was fully annotated with stage, grade and lethal outcome.

According to Mark R. Straley, chief executive officer, Metamark’s clinical study represents an important step toward successful commercialization of the Metamark prostate cancer test.

“We’re pleased to have completed this important milestone on our own biomarker platform, which analyzes proprietary proteins actively involved in tumor growth, invasion and metastatic spread,” Straley said.

“That our study was able to replicate the results of the study published in Nature is significant,” said Peter Blume-Jensen, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer for Metamark. “The Nature study was groundbreaking work showing for the first time that a 4-protein panel could increase the prognostic accuracy of prostate cancer staging and grading. We have shown that we can achieve comparable results with our protein panel on an automated platform, which delivers reproducibility as well as accuracy.”

Metamark Genetics plans to offer its test as a service available to physicians through its clinical laboratory in Cambridge, Mass.

Study: SMAD4-dependent barrier constrains prostate cancer growth and metastatic progression

Source: Metamark Genetics

Transgenomic and MD Anderson Collaborate on Circulating Tumor Cell Study using ICE COLD-PCR

Last month, Transgenomic, Inc. announced that it has begun a collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to evaluate the use of the Company’s very high sensitivity ICE COLD-PCR mutation detection technology in analysis of DNA isolated from circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood samples from patients with advanced cancer.

Charles River Partners with Metabolon for Oncology Biomarker Research

Charles River Discovery Services and Metabolon announced last month that they partnered with Metabolon for oncology biomarker research. The collaboration combines Charles River’s preclinical oncology study expertise with Metabolon’s analysis of metabolic data to identify both mechanism of action and biomarkers.

Non-human Sugar Molecule May be a Potential Cancer Biomarker and Treatment

According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, a non-human sugar molecule commonly found in people may be useful as a future biomarker for predicting cancer risk. Moreover, the potential biomarker may be useful for diagnosing cancer cases early and, in sufficient concentration, used as a treatment for suppressing tumor growth. The study is published in the April 19 online issue of the journal Cancer Research.