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Strands: Mar 12, 2009


Rosetta Genomics Publishes Data on Lung Cancer Test

Rosetta Genomics and its research collaborators have published data in the Journal of Clinical Oncology from a study showing that the same biomarker used in the firm's miRNA-based test for squamous lung cancer provided 96 percent sensitivity.

The study, which was posted online Monday on the journal's website, included 262 patients and was conducted by Rehovot, Israel-based Rosetta and researchers from Columbia University, NYU Cancer Institute, and Sheba Medical Center.

The firm said in a statement that it has shown that a single microRNA biomarker obtained from a routine pathological preparation of a biopsy identified squamous lung carcinomas with 96 percent sensitivity and 90 percent specificity.

Rosetta Genomics President and CEO Amir Avniel said that the study "strongly validates the microRNA technology that underlies our miRview squamous test."

The firm offers the test through its CLIA-certified lab in Philadelphia. It launched the test, which is designed to differentiate squamous from non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer, in December (see RNAi News, 12/11/2008).

Alnylam, MIT Team Publishes Data on Lipidoid Delivery Technology

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals announced last week that company researchers, in collaboration with investigators from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have published new data describing the further development of a novel class of lipid-based molecules for siRNA delivery.

Last year, both groups had published data showing that the so-called lipidoids, which were developed at MIT, could be used to systemically deliver siRNAs and microRNA-targeting antisense oligos into a variety of tissue types in multiple animal models (see RNAi News, 5/1/2008).

According to the company, the new research, which appears in Molecular Therapy, identified "key parameters" affecting the pharmacodynamics of the lipidoid formulations, and demonstrated that lipidoid formulations could "achieve delivery of greater than 90 percent of the administered siRNA dose to the liver and maintain robust in vivo activity following repeat administration over a period of several months."

In 2007, an Alnylam official disclosed that the company had planned to use lipidoids in both its hypercholesterolemia and liver cancer programs (see RNAi News, 6/28/2007). However, a few months later, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore said that the firm would use another technology, developed by partner Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, in the programs instead (see RNAi News, 11/21/2008).

Although at the time he did not provide details behind the decision not to use lipidoids in the two programs, last month during a conference call held to discuss Alnylam's fourth-quarter financial results, he characterized the MIT technology as "two to three years behind" Tekmira's technology.

The Scan

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.

Seagull Microbiome Altered by Microplastic Exposure

The overall diversity and the composition at gut microbiome sites appear to coincide with microplastic exposure and ingestion in two wild bird species, according to a new Nature Ecology and Evolution study.

Study Traces Bladder Cancer Risk Contributors in Organ Transplant Recipients

In eLife, genome and transcriptome sequencing reveal mutation signatures, recurrent somatic mutations, and risky virus sequences in bladder cancers occurring in transplant recipients.

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.