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In Brief This Week: Abbott, Strata Oncology, Premaitha, Science Exchange, Clearbridge BioMedics, More

Due to a technical error, the In Brief column is being included in Monday's Daily News bulletin instead of the usual Friday bulletin. Please note that the following news briefs are from the week of Dec. 11.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Abbott's board increased its quarterly common dividend to $.28 from $.265 per share, payable Feb. 15, 2018 to shareholders of record as of the close of the business day on Jan. 12, 2018.

Strata Oncology said this week that five healthcare systems have joined the Strata Precision Oncology Network, which the company launched in 2017 to provide advanced cancer patients with routine tumor profiling to match them to a portfolio of biomarker-matched pharma-sponsored clinical trials. The new network members are the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center; Christiana Care's Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute; Kaiser Permanente-Northern California; Kettering Health Network; and Ochsner Health System. They  join existing members the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Metro Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium. Members can use the StrataNGS test, an 87-gene assay that sequences both DNA and RNA, to identify trial candidates for targeted therapies. StrataNGS is available to all advanced solid tumor and lymphoma patients at no cost through the Strata Trial, a nationwide observational study providing tumor sequencing for 100,000 patients with advanced cancer.

Premaitha Health said this week that it has added four new laboratories to its European customer base. The company didn't name the labs, but said they are located in three EU countries. The customers are all private reference laboratories seeking to offer Premaitha's Iona NIPT test in their respective regions. The laboratories will be fully installed by early 2018 and the company anticipates that these labs will perform an aggregate volume of more than 9,000 NIPT tests per year once they are fully active, generating in excess of £1 million ($1.3 million) in annual revenues for Premaitha.

Science Exchange said this week it is offering online access to Bioinformatics Solutions' protein de novo sequencing services to scientists around the world. The workflow can be used to retrieve the amino acid sequence of an unknown antibody protein using mass spectrometry techniques, the firm said.

Clearbridge BioMedics announced this week that its ClearCell FX1 System is now available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region through partnerships with 12 new distributors. The ClearCell FX1 System is an automated liquid biopsy system for the enrichment of circulating tumor cells from blood.

The Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center said this week that it is launching the pilot phase of a new, independent research initiative called the BRCA Founder Outreach (BFOR) Study. The study offers BRCA genetic testing at no cost to women and men of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry over the age of 25. Enrolled participants will receive pre-test education and informed consent for testing through an online platform. They will then supply a blood sample at a Quest laboratory in their community. Participants can elect to receive their genetic test results through their primary care physician or through a BFOR genetic counselor. Follow-up genetic counseling and/or additional genetic testing may be recommended based on their test results and family history.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on the GenomeWeb site.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.