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NYU, Rosetta Genomics, Medica Awards, Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine, UK National Stem Cell Network, Taconic, University of Albany, Lancaster University

NYU, Rosetta Genomics to Co-develop miRNA-based Lung Cancer Test
Rosetta Genomics and New York University Medical Center said this week that they plan to co-develop diagnostic tests for lung and mesothelioma cancers.
The early-detection tests will use Rosetta's technology for extracting microRNA from blood.
The tests will identify patients at risk of lung cancer due to smoking as well as those who have been exposed to asbestos fibers.
"MicroRNAs have been shown to hold great potential as effective biomarkers for various cancers," said Harvey Pass, chief of NYU Medical Center's Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology divisions, in a statement.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Medica Awards $5M in Grants to Minnesota Partnership for Biotech and Medical Genomics
Medica Foundation, the grant-making arm of non-profit health-insurance company Medica, has awarded $5 million to the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics to support three projects in heart disease and cancer, and two projects aimed at improving research infrastructure.
The five funded research projects are:
  • “Design and characterization of novel natriuretic peptides for the treatment of congestive heart failure.” Principal investigators: Lincoln Potter, University of Minnesota; and John Burnett, Mayo Clinic.
  • “Minnesota Partnership for Translational Nanotechnology in Cancer.” PIs: Stephen Ekker, University of Minnesota; and Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Mayo Clinic.
  • The identification and validation of miRNA signature profiles as biomarkers for colon cancer progression.” PIs: Clifford Steer, University of Minnesota; and Stephen Thibodeau, Mayo Clinic.
  • MINGEN 2 (MINnesota GENomics Infrastructure Initiative 2). PIs: Vivek Kapur, University of Minnesota; and David Smith, Mayo Clinic.
  • “Shared nuclear magnetic resonance body compostion analyzer to improve Minnesota Partnership obesity research.” PIs: Catherine Kotz, University of Minnesota; and James Levine, Mayo Clinic.
The Minnesota Partnership is a collaborative research initiative between the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, and the state of Minnesota.

Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine to Sell Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells for Research
The Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine last week said that it is now selling mouse embryonic stem cell clones from the its collection of C57BL/6 and 129SvEv mouse lines.
The mouse stem cell lines will be made available to scientists on a case-by-case basis, TIGM said.
TIGM said it maintains the world’s largest catalog of ESCs for C57BL/6 mice, with more than 200,000 clones. In addition, TIGM has contracted access from Lexicon Genetics to the world’s largest catalog of genetically modified 129SvEv mouse cells, with more than 272,000 clones available.

UK Establishes National Network to Promote Stem-Cell Research
The UK National Stem Cell Network, a government-sponsored program designed to bring together national and regional stem cell research, was launched last week, the UKNSCN said.
According to a statement from the organization, it aims to improve the coordination of research across various disciplines of UK-based stem cell research, act as a focus and voice for the stem cell community, and enhance basic research to speed its translation into clinical applications.
The UKNSCN will comprise a number of regional stem cell networks and centers of excellence, including the Wellcome Center for Stem Cell Research in Cambridge, the Institute for Stem Cell Research in Edinburgh; and the Center for Life in Newcastle.
The network will receive financial support from the following four UK Research Councils: the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; and Medical Research Council.

Taconic to Construct $13.2M Biotech Expansion at University of Albany
Biotech firm Taconic will construct a new biotechnology building at the University of Albany East campus to be used for developing and producing mouse models for drug discovery and other biomedical applications, NY-state and UAlbany officials said last week.
The total project cost is estimated at $13.2 million, of which $4.1 million will be provided by the University of Albany Foundation for site work and shell construction. A portion of the foundation’s contribution will come from a $1.9 million capital appropriation from the state of New York. Taconic is providing $9.1 million to outfit the facility.
The 23,000-square-foot facility will be used for isolator production of rats and mice for use in biomedical research by pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and government agencies. Construction is scheduled to be completed by November, and Taconic will be one of 15 tenants to occupy the new building.

UK’s Lancaster University wins $532K Grant to Study Tech Transfer and Entrepreneurship
The Economic and Social Research Council, a UK-based research funding and training agency addressing economic and social concerns, has awarded a £266,000 ($532,000) grant to Lancaster University Management School to investigate the promotion of innovation in the UK economy.
Professor Mary Rose of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at Lancaster will lead the three-year project, which is supported by the Advanced Institute of Management Research with funding from ESRC.
Rose’s project is titled “Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Innovation, and Competitive Advantage: Past and Present.”

The Scan

Suicidal Ideation-Linked Loci Identified Using Million Veteran Program Data

Researchers in PLOS Genetics identify risk variants within and across ancestry groups with a genome-wide association study involving veterans with or without a history of suicidal ideation.

Algorithm Teases Out Genetic Ancestry in Individuals at Biobank Scale

Researchers develop an algorithm known as Rye to tease apart ancestry fractions in admixed individuals at a biobank-scale, applying it to 488,221 UK Biobank participants in Nucleic Acids Research.

Multi-Ancestry Analysis Highlights Comparable Common Variants at Complex Trait-Linked Loci

Researchers in Nature Genetics examine common variants implicated in more than three dozen conditions, estimating genetic effect similarities across ancestry tracts in admixed individuals.

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.