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Abbott Licenses Prostate Cancer Biomarkers for MDx Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Abbott today said that it has licensed exclusive rights from Stanford University to several biomarkers that it intends to use in developing a molecular diagnostics test.

Abbott said that it intends to develop a test that can differentiate aggressive from nonaggressive prostate cancer, a currently unmet medical need.

The molecular assay will be based on Abbott's fluorescence in situ hybridization technology and be designed to detect rearrangements of the ERG and ETV1 genes and to measure loss of the PTEN gene. The firm intends to begin evaluating the FISH probes later this year.

In a statement, Abbott cited a study in the British Journal of Cancer, which showed that men without ERG/ETV1 genetic aberrations and no PTEN gene loss had "excellent prognosis," demonstrating an 85 percent survival rate after 11 years.

"Without knowing if the cancer is life threatening, men have no way to know if prostate surgery or chemotherapy is the right option," Stafford O'Kelly, head of Abbott's molecular diagnostics business, said in the statement. "This newest advance in personalized medicine will provide individualized genetic evidence for informed clinical decision making in choosing the right approach to prostate cancer treatment."

Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

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