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Dx Focus: Clinical and Regulatory PCR and Nucleic Acid Testing News: Oct 13, 2011

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Beijing-based China Medical Technologies said this week that China's State Food and Drug Administration has approved its real-time PCR-based KRAS assay as a companion diagnostic test for the use of a targeted colorectal cancer drug.

KRAS mutations occur in 30 percent to 60 percent of colorectal cancers and are associated with poor response to EGFR inhibitors such as Amgen's Vectibix and Merck's Erbitux.

China Medical did not disclose the name of the drug for which its assay was approved as a companion diagnostic.

Citing figures from the Chinese Ministry of Health, the company said that around 170,000 new colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed each year in China.


The UK's National Policing Improvement Agency has agreed to evaluate Epistem's Genedrive point-of-care molecular testing device as part of the NPIA's Accelerated DNA Profiling Technology Program, Epistem said this week.

The NPIA will use Genedrive to target single tandem repeats used for human forensic identification.

If the trial is successful, "the NPIA could use Genedrive to enable rapid and accurate DNA analysis at a crime scene," Epistem said.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.