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Mira Dx Licenses miRNA Technology for Breast Cancer from Yale

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Mira Dx today announced it is licensing technology from Yale University for the identification of patients at risk for triple negative breast cancer.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The technology identifies microRNA disrupting variants in and around the BRCA1 gene that are polymorphic in breast cancer populations, the New Haven, Conn.-based company said, adding that one key variant, rs8176318, is significantly associated with the risk of developing triple negative breast cancer, particularly in African-American women.

Triple negative breast cancer accounts for between 15 and 20 percent of all breast cancers and is the deadliest from of the disease. In the US, more than 207,090 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and 39,840 died from the disease, Mira Dx said, citing statistics from the National Cancer Institute.

Numerous BRCA1 coding sequence mutations are associated with breast cancer risk, but these mutations account for less than 5 percent of women identified as being at risk for breast cancer, the company said.

"There is a real need for tools that can help women who have a family history of breast cancer to better understand their risk," said Martin Van Verhoef, president and CEO of Mira Dx. "We hope that cancer risk markers such as this marker will provide valuable information for the tens of thousands of women and families each year who are and may be affected by triple negative breast cancer."

Mira Dx was founded in 2008 by researchers at Yale to discover and develop miRNA-based tests. It operates a CLIA lab and currently runs a test to identify women at risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.