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BioForce, Affymetrix, Arcturus, Applied Biosystems, Illumina, University of North Carolina, ABRF, National Cancer Institute


BioForce Gets DOD Grant for Nanoarray Breast Cancer Research

BioForce Nanosciences, an Ames, Iowa startup, announced this week a US Department of Defense award for research into a nano-scale protein array for breast cancer cell signaling pathways.

The award, “Protein Nanoarrays for Studying Malignant Progression in Breast Cancer Cell Lines,” comes out of funding from The Breast Cancer Research Program, a congressional initiative managed by the Department of Defense’s Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and funded with $150 million in FY 2002. The research will be led by principal investigator Janice Huff, and is designed to precipitate development of sensitive breast cancer screening tests, as well as improved ways to monitory disease progression, define drug targets, and monitor patient response to chemotherapy.


Affymetrix Invests $3M in LCM Startup Arcturus, Signs Access Deal

Affymetrix has invested $3 million in laser capture microdissection company Arcturus and provided the company with “broad access” to its GeneChip brand arrays and instruments, Affymetrix said. Arcturus will be able to use the Affymetrix products in its efforts to develop diagnostic arrays that involve LCM. In this method, groups of homogeneous cell types are microdissected out of a tissue sample using a laser, before the sample is purified and hybridized to a microarray. The technique enables scientists to obtain purer samples of tumor cells, for example, in testing cancer.


Applied Biosystems, Illumina Unleash the Lawyers

Applied Biosystems has sued bead array company Illumina for patent infringement in a Northern California US District court, while Illumina has countered by alleging that ABI has breached the companies’ 1999 agreement to jointly develop and market a genotyping system, Illumina said last week. The infringement suit involves patents related to ABI’s oligo ligation assay.

Illumina, which launched its own commercial genotyping system using its fiber optic bead arrays in July after ABI announced that it would not meet a launch date for their joint system, is seeking arbitration for the breach of the agreement.

Illumina president and CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement that ABI is suing the San Diego-based company “in an effort to restrain us from selling our independently developed system.”


UNC Gets $2.5M NIH Microarray Grant.

University of North Carolina researchers who receive funding form the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute are slated to receive $2.5 million for microarray technology.

This award will go toward a new Carolina Cardiopulmonary Gene Expression Services center, which will be devoted solely to microarray experiments in cardiopulmonary research, the school said in a statement released last week. At least 67 investigators will take part in this initiative.

Though it was not immediately known what kinds of technologies will likely attract UNC’s cash, the school hinted that its researchers would get access to microarray services “as diverse as experimental design” and sample prep- and data-interpretation tools that use “advanced bioinformatics approaches.”

“Over the next four years, my goal ... is to put UNC at the forefront of microarray and gene-expression analysis for diseases of the heart, lungs, and blood,” Cam Patterson, director of the Carolina Cardiovascular Biology Center and PI for the NIH grant told BioArray News’ sister publication GenomeWeb.


ABRF Sets Microarray Survey Deadline

The Microarray Research Group of the Association of Biomolecular Resources Facilities has set a January 10 deadline for responding to its annual microarray survey.

Available online at, the survey is used to collect information on instrumentation, protocols, staffing, funding and throughput. Responses will be used to create a profile of microarray analysis laboratories.

Results will be presented at the ABRF meeting in Denver, Colo., Feb. 10-13.


NCI Spices Up Gene Expression Portal

To attract new users to its Gene Expression Data Portal, the National Cancer Institute has enlisted Deerfield, Ill. Bioinformatics company First Genetic Trust to add analytical and search tools to it, the company announced last week.

The portal ( is a repository of data on cancer-related gene expression experiments.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.