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Abcodia and Cellmid Collaborate on the Studying of Midkine for Early Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

Abcodia Ltd, the UK biomarker validation company with a focus on early detection of cancer, today announced that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Cellmid Ltd (ASX: CDY), for the testing of midkine (MK) in a collection of longitudinal serum samples using Cellmid’s MK-ELISA.

The initial objective of the collaboration is to validate midkine as a useful marker for the screening and early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Serum samples will be provided by Abcodia and testing will be carried out by Cellmid.

The collaboration focuses on the assessment of midkine in pre-diagnosis serum samples. Abcodia has exclusive access to a unique biobank of 5,000,000 serum samples collected through the UK Collaborative Trial for Ovarian Cancer Screening.

The biobank was derived from 200,000 initially healthy volunteers. Since first recruitment, more than 27,000 individuals have been diagnosed with cancer. A subset of 50,000 individuals within the 200,000 cohort have provided samples annually, making this a unique longitudinal resource for testing midkine levels early, even before symptoms appear.

The collaboration agreement allows for the testing of multiple cancer indications, but initially targeting the early detection and screening of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer ranks third in incidence and second in cancer-related mortality in the United States.

Although the five year survival rate for stage 1 cancers is as high as 74%, for stage 4 cancers, when the cancer has metastasized, this reduces to just 6%. Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer, before the spread to the lymph nodes and distant sites, is vital to reduce death rates.

Midkine has been extensively validated as a biomarker in a range of other cancers. t has been shown to appear very early in some solid tumours with demonstrated utility in disease management and monitoring. Since 2012 midkine has been commercially used as one of the biomarkers in CxBladder®, a diagnostic test for the monitoring of bladder cancer patients.

Cellmid’s CEO, Maria Halasz, said: “We are excited to collaborate with the expert team at Abcodia to measure midkine levels in their extensive collection of pre-diagnosis serum samples. It is an exceptional opportunity for Cellmid to take part in the development of an important cancer diagnostic test.”

Abcodia’s CEO, Dr Julie Barnes, said: “I am delighted to be able to form this partnership with Cellmid. Midkine is an intriguing marker and I hope that we can reveal an interesting profile in the early pre-symptomatic phase of colorectal cancer. The uptake of current screening methods for colorectal cancer (colonoscopy and haemoccult testing) is low and a simple blood test could help significantly improve early diagnosis and therefore improve treatment outcomes.”

Source: Abcodia

University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University Announce Licensing Agreement for the Development of Diagnostic Tests for HIV Drug Resistance

Case Western Reserve University has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement granting University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center rights to a series of diagnostic tests to determine drug resistance and co-receptor tropism in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The phenotypic and genotypic HIV tests (or assays) were invented by Eric Arts, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and Miguel Quiñones-Mateu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology at the School of Medicine and Scientific Director at the University Hospitals Translational Laboratory (UHTL, www.uhtl.org).

The HIV assays provide a platform of diagnostic tests used by physicians and researchers to monitor the success of anti-HIV treatment by determining drug resistance and the ability of the virus to infect different cells within the patient. The HIV assays also can be used by academic and corporate researchers to develop novel strategies to block HIV replication.

In July 2011, UH Case Medical Center created the UHTL with the goal of advancing and further developing new molecular diagnostic methodologies originally conceived in the academic and clinical laboratories at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve. UHTL’s main objective is to facilitate the development of translational research into commercial assays or products, including characterization, verification, and validation in a College of American Pathologists and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CAP/CLIA) certified environment under a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) framework.

The UHTL occupies 4,200 sq.ft. of office and laboratory space, including BSL-2+, in the Baker Electric Building (MidTown, Cleveland, OH) and was recently CAP accredited. The first series of cell-based and molecular HIV diagnostic tests will be offered by the UHTL during the second quarter of this year.

“The UHTL has provided us with an exciting opportunity to develop new molecular diagnostic tests, and the collaboration of Drs. Quiñones-Mateu and Arts has been particularly fruitful for developing these new tests that will benefit patients by allowing individually targeted selection of therapies for HIV infection,” said Clifford V. Harding, MD, PhD, the Joseph R. Kahn, MD Professor of Pathology and Chair of Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve and UH Case Medical Center.

“A personalized, four-in-one integrated assay has been launched to provide a highly advanced way to ensure optimal care for HIV infected patients. New collaborations between Case Western Reserve and UH are in process to provide enhanced care for patients with hepatitis and cancer,” said Dr. Arts.

“The UHTL allows UH Case Medical Center to remain on the leading-edge of molecular diagnostic testing. It clearly demonstrates our commitment to our mission: ‘To heal, To teach and To discover,” said Ronald E. Dziedzicki, Chief Operating Officer at UH Case Medical Center. “This new capability will clearly benefit patients with HIV infection in a more targeted manner, thereby impacting the quality of their life. UHTL also provides a platform to assist with the movement of other new and novel testing modalities from a concept to reality. The establishment of this lab and new testing modalities also demonstrates the value of the relationship between UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University and our quest to improve patient care with new leading edge technologies.”

Dr. Quiñones-Mateu joined UH Case Medical Center as Scientific Director of the UHTL after leading the technical and commercial development of novel molecular and cell-based HIV diagnostic tests at Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc., A Quidel Company. “Our HIV phenotypic (VIRALARTS™HIV and VERITROP™) assays and the novel all-inclusive HIV genotyping and coreceptor tropism test (DEEPGEN™HIV) based on next-generation sequencing will allow us to enhance the care and treatment of HIV-infected individuals not only in Northeast Ohio but nationally as well as worldwide.

DEEPGEN™HIV is a first-in-class assay based on the latest technology developed to rapidly detect variants and mutations in any given genome with high sensitivity. Current tests are able to detect drug resistant viruses with a sensitivity of 20 percent, while DEEPGEN™HIV is able to detect these mutant viruses at frequencies as low as 1 percent. This will give the opportunity to the physicians to “see” the mutant viruses many months in advance and decide whether or not change the treatment before the patient begins to fail HIV therapy.

According to Quiñones-Mateu, “With the collaboration of Dr. Christine Schmotzer, UHTL Medical Director and Assistant Professor of Pathology at the School of Medicine, we are ready to introduce our unique products and services to HIV physicians, pharmaceutical drug companies developing the next generation of effective drugs, and national laboratory service organizations that interact with both groups.”

Source: University Hospitals

MicroConstants Expands Biomarker Testing and Analysis Services for Preclinical and Clinical Diagnostic Research

MicroConstants, a Contract Research Organization (CRO) specializing in regulated bioanalysis and DMPK, recently announced the appointment of Doinita Serban, Ph.D. as director of biomarker research to oversee the expansion of biomarker testing and analysis services for preclinical and clinical diagnostic research. Doinita’s extensive experience with biomarker assay development, validation, and profiling of disease panels, coupled with the implementation of the Luminex platform, will enable MicroConstants to broaden their biomarker analysis capabilities to include additional assay formats, such as multiplex immunoassays, gene expression and profiling assays.

Vermillion’s OVA1 Receives New Statement by Society of Gynecologic Oncology

Vermillion, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: VRML), a multivariate diagnostics company focused on gynecologic cancers and women’s health, OVA1® has received a new statement on clinical validation and medical use issued by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO).

Citing peer-reviewed publications from two pivotal clinical studies of OVA1® versus standard of care, the statement also referred to OVA1 use within the context of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) 2011 Committee Opinion, “The Role of the Obstetrician-Gynecologist in the Early Detection of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.” This guideline, updated from a previous version issued in 2002, covers the management of adnexal masses, including serum markers for ovarian cancer detection.

SGO stated: “…The test may be useful in identifying women who should be referred to a gynecologic oncologist. Recent data have suggested that the OVA1 test along with physician clinical assessment may improve detection rates of malignancies among women with pelvic masses planning surgery.” The complete statement on OVA1 clinical validation and medical use is available on SGO’s website here.
This second SGO statement on OVA1 since its FDA clearance in 2009 represents another significant step toward acceptance of OVA1 as the standard of care for pre-surgically evaluating the risk of ovarian cancer in women with adnexal masses.

The new statement does two things:

  • Refers to publications of OVA1’s two pivotal clinical studies, comprised of the original FDA validation study published in June 2011 and the OVA500 “intended use” study published in 2013. Together, this offers an extensive, peer-reviewed proof source for physicians and payers to assess OVA1’s clinical performance and comparative medical benefits versus today’s standard of care.
  • Places OVA1 use in the context of current ACOG practice guidelines, where CA125 has been used off-label for many years to predict malignancy before surgery, although with inferior performance.

Two key developments in 2013 underlined the timeliness of this updated statement by SGO. The first was the publication of the company’s second pivotal clinical study, OVA500, in the February edition of Gynecologic Oncology. OVA500 was led by Dr. Robert E. Bristow, director of Gynecologic Oncology Services at UC Irvine Healthcare in Orange, California. The second development was a study in the June edition of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, which made the front page of the New York Times under the headline, “Widespread Flaws Found in Ovarian Cancer Treatment.” This study, also led by Dr. Bristow, reported that most women with ovarian cancer “are treated by doctors and hospitals that see few cases of the disease and lack expertise in the complex surgery and chemotherapy that can prolong life.” Dr. Bristow said, “If we could just make sure that women get to the people who are trained to take care of them, the impact would be much greater than that of any new chemotherapy drug or biological agent.”

After reviewing the SGO statement, Dr. Hector Chapa, MD, FACOG and medical director of the Women’s Specialty Center in Dallas observed: “This new statement by SGO affirms the important role which OVA1 should play in the workup of patients with an adnexal mass, and particularly before surgery is undertaken by a surgeon uncertified in the gynecologic oncology specialty. This is important because a large number of malignancies are discovered after a surgery where the mass was thought to be benign after negative CA125 or physical examination. Now, we await an updated guideline from ACOG, replacing CA125 with the greatly improved sensitivity and negative predictive value of OVA1. After all, ACOG first mentioned excitement about OVA1 in the Gynecology Practice bulletin of March 2011, prior to publication of the two clinical studies cited by SGO. I believe the new SGO statement is a very positive advance for patients, physicians and health insurance companies alike.”

Vermillion President and CEO Thomas McLain commented: “We highly value the support SGO has provided in two statements about the benefits of OVA1 testing. For patients with ovarian cancer, Vermillion understands that timely access to a trained gynecologic oncology specialist is critical. Optimal treatment, survival and post-surgical outcomes all depend upon improvements in the detection of ovarian malignancies of all types, and as early as possible. OVA1 directly addresses the difficult challenge of identifying the more than 22,000 ovarian malignancies that are associated with 300,000 gynecologic surgeries performed every year. We look forward to supporting ACOG’s review of this new clinical data and the SGO statement. We are committed to working to improve the standard of care for all gynecologic surgery patients at risk of ovarian cancer.”

Source: PR Newswire

Rosetta Genomics Announces Acceptance for Publication by Molecular Cancer of Rosetta Cancer Origin Test Manuscript

Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (NASDAQ: ROSG), a leading developer and provider of microRNA-based molecular diagnostics, announces that a manuscript reporting data validating the clinical utility of the Rosetta Cancer Origin Test™ (formerly miRview® mets2) to identify the tumor of origin in Cancer of Unknown or Uncertain Primary (CUP) has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed on-line journal Molecular Cancer. The article, titled “Novel microRNA-based assay demonstrates 92% agreement with diagnosis based on clinicopathologic and management data in a cohort of patients with carcinoma of unknown primary,” represents the seventh peer-reviewed publication relating to our CUP assays, and the fifth peer-reviewed publication relating to post market validation studies demonstrating the Cancer Origin Test’s ability to identify tumor origin in CUP with 92% concordance, the highest level of accuracy of any similar study published to date.

The manuscript discusses the performance of the Cancer Origin Test, an assay utilizing 64 microRNAs to identify 42 tumor types, in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples from 84 CUP patients The results showed concordance with the final diagnosis in 92% of patients; representing an improvement in agreement of 22 percentage points from presentation diagnosis to final diagnosis, which final diagnosis was achieved after more precise clinical and pathological data was added to the data relied upon for the patient’s initial assessment.

“MicroRNAs are particularly well-suited as biomarkers for identifying tumor origin as their expression levels and profile reflects tissue origin. Importantly, microRNAs have been shown to be highly stable in tissue blocks, the most common and readily available specimen type in pathology. Profiling microRNA from FFPE tissue has been described to be superior to mRNA profiling, since the latter are prone to extensive degradation in FFPE samples,” stated Kenneth A. Berlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rosetta Genomics. “These data are important as they continue to confirm the clinical utility and extremely high level of concordance with the final diagnosis in real-world CUP patients. The availability and accuracy of our Cancer Origin Test underscores why the uncertainty of CUP is no longer acceptable.”

According to E. Robert Wassman, MD, FAAP, FACMG, Rosetta Genomics’ Chief Medical Officer, “CUP presents clinicians with a diagnostic as well as a management challenge. The identification of tumor origin in metastatic patients is crucial for planning patient management and care, since many oncology treatments include cancer-specific therapies. Moreover, these specific therapies and related targeted therapies have been shown to lead to increased survival of patients with advanced cancers of known origin. Consequently, it is not a matter of whether to use microRNA profiling, but when to use it.”

Source: PR Newswire