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CombiMatrix, Japanese Gov t Lab Develop Technology for DNA Methylation

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CombiMatrix and the Computational Biology Research Center, a division of the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, have developed a novel way to prepare and measure DNA methylation in tissue biopsies, the groups said last week.

The technique, which relies on CombiMatrix’s microarrays, is the culmination of a technology-access and -purchase agreement that the firm’s Japanese subsidiary and the CBRC penned in April 2002. At that time, the CBRC entered into a technology access and purchase agreement with CombiMatrix’s subsidiary in Japan, and the parties have announced their first license agreement with an undisclosed third party in Japan.

Yutaka Akiyama, director of the CBRC, said his group has used CombiMatrix’s Microarray Synthesizer in its lab to “investigate the role of DNA methylation in various diseases.” He said the partners jointly developed sample-preparation protocols and microarray assays to analyze samples.

“The experimental data combined with our expertise in large-scale data analysis and bioinformatics will help increase our understanding of the role of DNA methylation in a variety of disease states,” Akiyama said.

It is widely held that DNA methylation plays a role in aging and cancer by regulating the gene expression. Since abnormally methylated DNA is “often found” in most human cancers, researchers at CBRC and the undisclosed licensee are using this technique to develop a better understanding of the role of DNA methylation in cellular proces

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