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Veridex, Novartis Partner on CTC Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Veridex and Novartis are partnering to "encourage and facilitate" research into circulating tumor cells as potential biomarkers in metastatic prostate cancer, Veridex announced today.

As part of the deal, Veridex is supporting a prospective, single-arm, open-label study on the effect of zoledronic acid — marketed by Novartis as Zometa — on circulating tumors in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, or CRPC.

The collaboration includes use of Veridex's CellSearch CTC test, which has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for capturing and counting CTCs to determine the prognosis of patients with metastatic breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer.

The study initially will focus on 60 CRPC patients with metastatic bone disease from between five and 10 study centers in Germany and investigate the number of CTCs in those patients treated with zoledronic acid. The objective of the study is to calculate the proportion of patients with decreased CTCs at 12 weeks after first treatment with zoledronic acid.

Researchers hope to determine whether zoledronic acid can impact CTC counts in the body, said Ekkehardt Bismarck of the EuromedClinic in Germany and a lead investigator on the study. He added that improved CTC counts has been associated with better clinical outcomes.

"Our alliance with Novartis further highlights the growing interest in CTCs as a potential biomarker in treating patients with metastatic prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers," Robert McCormack, head of Technology Innovation at Veridex, a Johnson & Johnson company, said in the statement.

Financial and other terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

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