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Affymetrix, Arcturus Bioscience, MWG Biotech


Affymetrix, Arcturus to Co-develop Tools For Analysis on Paraffin-Embedded Samples

Affymetrix and Arcturus Bioscience announced last week a collaboration to co-develop new tools to enable researchers to analyze gene-expression data on paraffin-embedded clinical biopsy samples.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Arcturus, which is commercializing laser capture microdissection instruments, will provide Paradise reagents to extract and amplify RNA from paraffin-embedded tissues for study with Affymetrix’s GeneChip human genome X3P array. This custom array is designed to detect shorter RNAs, and, the company said, will be provided to researchers interested in studying paraffin-embedded tissues for gene expression. No pricing was provided.

Over the past several decades, hospitals have been collecting millions of clinical tissue samples. Tradition-ally, the procedure for preserving these samples involves immersing the tissue in formalin and embedding it in paraffin wax. “Until now, researchers thought that this formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded preservation process destroyed, modified, or degraded the nucleic acids, specifically the DNA and RNA, in biopsy samples, precluding gene expression analysis,” Affymetrix and Arcturus said in a statement.

Additionally, US Labs of Irvine, Calif., last week announced that it will offer gene-expression profiling services on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, through a collaboration with Arcturus. The company is offering the services on a research-use-only basis.

And, to cap off a busy week, Arcturus also presented a paper, “Gene Expression Signatures Associated with Clinical Outcome in Breast Cancer via Laser Capture Microdissection,” co-authored with James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, at last week’s San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The collaborative effort describes a retrospective study of gene expression profiles from pure populations of breast tumor cells from 300 biopsies collected over the 18 years from patient volunteers treated at Kentucky hospitals. Using extraction and amplification reagents and custom DNA microarrays designed by Arcturus, the researchers measured which of nearly 22,000 profiled genes were active, or expressed, within the micro-dissected tumors.

Irish Research Center Taps MWG Biotech To Outfit New Microarray Laboratory Facility

Martinsreid, Germany-based MWG Biotech will help the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center at University College Cork, a new Science Foundation Ireland research center based in Teagasc, Ireland, to create a microarray facility, the groups said last week.

The deal calls for MWG to supply the APC with “the full range of its products and services” — namely its instrumentation, microarray, and bioinformatics exp-ertise. MWG will also provide the bioinformatic design, oligonucleotides, and microarrays, as well as support.

The “long term” deal will have APC buying a “substantial volume” of products from MWG, the company said. Financial details were not disclosed.

The APC employs 50 scientists and clinicians whose reesearch interests include host and bacterial gene expression in pathogenesis, bacteria or virus-host interactions, and immunological interactions.

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