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New Product Watch: Apr 28, 2009

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AltheaDx last week announced the launch of its Affymetrix Drug Metabolizing Enzymes & Transporter genotyping microarray service.

According to the company, the new service provides biopharmaceutical clients with "a way to measure the genetics of drug metabolism in clinical trial patients — giving drug developers the opportunity to select patients that are more likely to respond."
AltheaDx will compile patients' genetic data in a report for customers, and this information can then be integrated into existing clinical trial protocols.

"The DMET report includes biomarker analysis from all US Food and Drug Administration-validated genes and more than 150 well-documented biomarkers known to impact drug metabolism," the company said in a statement. "In addition to these proven biomarkers, the report contains information on a total of 1,936 genetic variants in 225 enzyme and transporter genes, making it a useful tool for exploratory pharmacokinetic studies to identify new biomarkers such as variants in CYP4F2, recently discovered using DMET to explain 8 percent of warfarin dosing variability."


Bioconductor version 2.4 was released last week. The new version of the open-source genomic data analysis software, accessible here, includes 28 new software packages as well as upgrades of existing packages. In total, version 2.4 includes 320 software packages and is compatible with R version 2.9.0.

Some new packages in Bioconductor 2.4 include: AffyTiling Easy, which enables extraction of individual probes in Affymetrix tiling arrays; crlmm, a genotype-calling and copy number analysis tool for Affymetrix SNP 5.0 and 6.0 and Illumina arrays; and SSPA, which provides sample size and power analysis for microarray data.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.