Wellcome Trust Genotyping Study Using Agilent Arrays
Agilent Technologies said this week that the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium will use the firm’s custom-made, whole-genome copy number variation microarrays in the next phase of the genetic variation study.
Agilent is the third company to announce that the WTCCC is using its arrays for the second phase of the project. Previously, Illumina and Affymetrix both announced their technologies are being employed by researchers in the study.
The WTCCC is a group of UK researchers who began in 2005 studying thousands of genotyped human samples for genes associated with coronary heart disease, hypertension, types 1 and 2 diabetes, bipolar disorder, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, autoimmune thyroid disease, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, and breast cancer.
Agilent said that genetic samples will be processed by Oxford Gene Technology, which is a UK-based Agilent microarray certified service provider.
“This is an important new study of human genetic variation in common disease for which we require high-resolution microarrays with extremely reproducible performance,” said Matthew Hurles of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
NIH Seeks Studies that Personalize Links Between Diet and Cancer
The National Institutes of Health will fund research programs for up to five years to determine whether genetic variants can predict individual response to dietary components that alter cancer processes and modify susceptibility to cancer.
The “Investigational Nutrigenetic Studies for Cancer Prevention” program is supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the Office of Dietary Supplements.
NIH said in a program announcement that funds for the R01 awards "are contingent upon the availability of funds" and that the number of awards it will grant under the program is not known.
The research should be focused on cancer in people who are genetically susceptible carriers of polymorphisms or haplotypes, and should try to identify those who do and do not respond to dietary interventions that can alter cellular cancer processes. The goal is to develop individualized, targeted prevention strategies that use diet and nutrition to reduce cancer risk in individuals with genetic variations that alter their susceptibilities to cancer.
“These studies will allow for personalization of cancer preventive dietary strategies to reduce cancer risk in genetically susceptible individuals,” NIH said in the program announcement.
Examples of the types of topics NIH seeks for this program include human studies that measure high dietary calcium intakes in certain specific genotypes; dietary studies that measure self-selected high meat intake compared to low meat intake in healthy carriers with certain SNPs; dietary studies that measure the effects of cruciferous vegetable intake in healthy postmenopausal female carriers of certain DNA polymorphisms; and others.
More information about the program can be found here.
Vanderbilt to Lead $4M PGx Project to Identify HIV Drug Response Markers
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has granted just over $4 million to a Vanderbilt University-led study to identify genetic variations that may predict how individuals will respond to HIV therapies.
Researchers will use the five-year grant to identify genetic markers that can predict both efficacy and toxicity of frequently prescribed HIV medications, David Haas, director of the Vanderbilt AIDS Clinical Trials Program and principal investigator on the project, explained in a statement.
Under the program, called “Pharmacogenomics of HIV Therapy,” Vanderbilt Medical Center will receive $2.4 million; Harvard University’s School of Public Health will receive $368,000; Massachusetts General Hospital will get nearly $1.1 million; $186,000 will go to researchers at Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College; and the University of Western Ontario will receive $23,000.
The project will use DNA samples and data from HIV-infected patients from clinical trials in Haiti and in South Africa and will focus on genes that are involved in drug metabolism and transport.
Another goal of the project is to assess the cost effectiveness of genetic tests in helping doctors select the most useful HIV drugs with the fewest side effects.
ArcticDx Licenses Colorectal Cancer Biomarker IP from UK's CRT
Cancer Research Technology, the technology commercialization arm of Cancer Research UK, said last week that it will license certain intellectual property related to colorectal cancer risk assessment to the molecular diagnostics company ArcticDx.
Under the non-exclusive license agreement, ArcticDx will make an upfront payment to CRT and will pay royalties from any sales of the biomarker-based test it plans to develop using the technology.
The test, called Colo Risk, is being developed to identify people who may be at higher risk for bowel cancer. ArcticDx CEO Greg Hines said the saliva-based test should be commercially available by the end of 2008.
The agreement will allow “some results” from Cancer Research UK-funded genome-wide association studies to be integrated into Colo Risk, CRT said, adding that these studies were “the first” to identify common SNPs that increase bowel cancer risk.