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New Releases: Sep 15, 2010


20/20 GeneSystems this week announced the commercial launch of its platform for biomarker identification in tumors and other tissue samples. Currently, the technique known as layered-immunohistochemistry, or L-IHC, is available to industry and academic researchers under service contracts.

According to the company, L-IHC would allow researchers to detect more than 10 biomarkers in a single tissue section. The technique, as described by the company, is able to preserve tissue morphology and combines the "visual benefits of classical pathology with the high-tech, high-throughput benefits of genomics and biochip technologies."

L-IHC "represents a major step forward in enabling personalized medicine and stratification of clinical trials to improve drug efficacy," the company said in a statement. "The 20/20 platform enables theranostic, prognostic, and diagnostic assay development and is especially suited for interrogation of cell signaling pathways, a growing trend in development of targeted therapeutics and diagnostics in cancer."

Furthermore, the company highlighted that L-IHC is particularly useful for studies in which "multi-parametric information is essential and tissue supply is limiting," a common problem in clinical and translational research.

20/20 GeneSystems developed the technology in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute's Laboratory of Pathology. The development program for the platform was funded with an NIH Small Business Innovative Research award and by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program.

Additionally, the company said that it has begun offering companion diagnostic development services based on the L-IHC platform at its Rockville, Md., laboratory.

Internally, the company has applied the L-IHC technique to develop a companion diagnostic, called PredicTOR, for gauging patient response to cancer therapies that target or are impacted by the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.

The company is looking for pharma partners who are interested in using PredicTOR to improve the efficacy of their marketed or investigational mTOR-pathway targeting drugs. Some drugs that target the mTOR pathway include Pfizer's renal cell carcinoma drug Torisel and Novartis' RCC treatment Afinitor. In studies, HER2-positive breast cancer patients' response to Genentech's Heceptin has also been shown to be impacted by the mTOR pathway, the company noted.

The Scan

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The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.