In the May issue of Cancer Prevention Research, Steven Lipkin and colleagues reported that in colon cancer cell lines, the protective effect against colorectal cancer was stronger in cells with a particular SNP in the HMGCR gene.
In the study, Amgen researchers and academic collaborators used the Roche 454 Life Sciences platform to sequence nine genes in 320 tumor samples from a clinical trial of the EGFR inhibitor Vectibix. It represents one of the first applications of next-gen sequencing to characterize samples from a clinical trial.
After missing the first-to-market opportunities with KRAS, both Merck KGaA and Amgen are strategically looking into additional gene markers, with the likely aim of being able to launch companion tests to their drugs that are more sensitive and accurate than the competition.
Synlab has started offering Epi proColon, Epigenomics' PCR-based blood test for early detection of colorectal cancer, through 55 German sites in its network. In addition, Epigenomics recently raised €33.1 million ($44.2 million) through a combined private and public share offering.
PCR Insider spoke with Mohammad Ilyas of the Queen's Medical Centre at Nottingham University about using quick-multiplex-consensus PCR followed by high-resolution melting to detect mutations in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue.
When Vectibix received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2006, "Amgen already knew the response rate was low," according to an Amgen official. The company began collecting patient tissue samples from mid-2005 to early 2007, knowing it would "need those samples for a biomarker analysis."
"DxS is seeking to avoid its exclusive obligation with Roche because it no longer finds it advantageous to benefit from the Roche distribution network," but a termination of the agreement would cause "irreparable" harm, Roche stated in a recently filed complaint.