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Snippets: Mar 25, 2009

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Agilent Grants Tools to Michigan Prostate Study

Agilent Technologies said last week that it has granted instruments and given funding to the University of Michigan for its prostate cancer research programs.

Under the grant, Agilent is contributing a 1200 Series liquid chromatography system, and a 1200 Series Rapid Resolution LC system coupled to a 6530 Accurate Mass quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer to the school's Center for Translational Pathology. The company did not disclose how much funding it granted to the school under the agreement.

The researchers will use the LC system to separate metabolites from human plasma and the Q-TOF for identifying those metabolites.

"We will focus our laboratory research on a systems-biology approach to try to understand the disease at the biochemical and genetic levels simultaneously," said Christopher Beecher, who is professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School. "We expect to be able to make a number of discoveries in prostate cancer and to develop new techniques that will be useful universally."

The collaboration was developed through Agilent's University Relations Program.

The researchers have "already revealed metabolomic profiles of prostate cancer progression by looking at 1,126 metabolites across 262 samples of tissue, blood, or urine," and the lab currently is studying how prostate tumors spread, said Agilent.


CPGR, SimuGen Enter Into Biomarker Assay Pact

South Africa's Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research last week said that it has entered into an agreement with SimuGen to develop biomarker assays for the prediction of toxicity of existing and new drug compounds.

SimuGen is a Malaysia-based pharmacogenomics firm working on novel dose-toxicity models for drug development customers.

"The work we will do with Simugen, aimed at improving the ability to develop novel, safe drugs, fits perfectly into our vision of creating cutting-edge ex vivo drug screening workflows that make full use of our genomic and proteomic platforms," Reinhard Hiller, managing director of CPGR, said in a statement.

CPGR was founded in 2006 as a non-profit organization to provide South African scientists with analytical services, project support, and collaborative research capabilities in the genomics and proteomics fields. The organization has a particular interest in translational research and has branched out into molecular diagnostics and drug discovery.

Terms of the collaboration with SimuGen were not disclosed.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.