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Snippets: Dec 17, 2008

NHGRI, UVA Begin Program for Genomics Education for Nurses and Physician Assistants
The National Human Genome Research Institute and the University of Virginia have begun a pilot project aimed at helping nursing educators and physician assistants develop new training materials for genomic medicine.
Developed using $100,000 in funding from NHGRI, the open access materials will be freely available on a website that will be used by both nursing educators and physician assistants to help them develop and review educational information on genetics and genomics.
The program, which is scheduled for launch in 2009, is based on the idea that the similarities between the two groups will allow for creating “a shared, integrated learning and content management system” that will allow nursing teachers and doctors’ assistants to post competencies and educational materials and to compare overlaps.
"Most healthcare provider groups have very similar core educational needs in genetics and genomics," NHGRI’s Director for Genomic Medicine, Greg Feero, said in a statement. He said those needs “can be better addressed through this collaborative effort.”
The resources available on the site “will be mapped to genetic competencies in a way that helps the students improve in specific subjects,” according to NHGRI.
“This collaboration helps educators from different professions cross germinate ideas regarding competencies and share teaching and learning tools for genetics," Connie Goldgar, who is director of graduate studies at the Utah Physician Assistant Program at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said in a statement.
The project also is supported by the Physician Assistant Education Association; the American Academy of Physician Assistants; the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; the National League for Nursing; Sigma Theta Tau International; the National Society of Genetic Counselors; as well as the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics.
AACN President Fay Raines said the site “will be invaluable to nursing school faculty who are working to integrate genetics and genomics content into their curricula, thereby preparing students to provide higher quality patient care."

Enigma Diagnostics Licenses Roche Patents for PCR-based Dx
Enigma Diagnostics has licensed two patents related to PCR technology from Roche Molecular Systems that will allow it to commercialize human and veterinary diagnostic tests worldwide, the company said this week.
Porton Down, UK-based Enigma said that it has signed a term sheet for two patent licenses for the HybProbe real-time PCR chemistry and to commercialize HybProbe molecular diagnostics for human and animal testing. The company said these technologies complement its existing license for real-time PCR thermal cyclers from Celera Diagnostics. 
Enigma is developing a series of multiplexed point-of-care assays for infectious diseases including chlamydia, influenza, and MRSA.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Clinical Data Teams with Italian Researchers on Cancer Drug PGx
Clinical Data last week said that it will collaborate with researchers at the University Hospital of Parma in Italy on validating genetic variants in the FCGR pathways that may predict response to a cancer drug.
The firm will work with Antonino Musolino on an international prospective trial to evaluate the association of genetic variants, such as the FCGR3A F185V genotype, with patients’ response to trastuzumab (Herceptin) in breast cancer treatment. Clinical Data anticipates the study will include around 300 breast cancer patients receiving the drug along with other drugs in the neoadjuvant setting to determine if FCGR3A F158V and other variants are predictive of clinical outcome.
It expects to complete the study by the end of 2009.
“Clinical evidence demonstrating the importance of FCGR variants in predicting the efficacy of monoclonal antibody-based cancer therapies continues to grow and augments our own efforts related to IgG1 antibody response,” Carol Reed, Clinical Data’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.
Clinical Data said that the collaboration expands its PGxHealth FCGR program, which includes the PGxPredict:Rituximab test for a gene variant used to determine response to rituximab monotherapy in follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The firm’s PGxHealth division is developing genomic-based tests under the PGxPredict and Familion brand names.

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