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Strands: Mar 12, 2009

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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

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.