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Aclara, USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Large Scale Biology, BioForce Nanosciences, Gyros, Definiens, Wita, NCI, FDA, Syn X Pharma


Aclara and USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Collaborate on Biomarkers

Aclara BioSciences of Mountain View, Calif., and the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital at the University of Southern California said last week they had started a collaboration to identify and characterize novel clinical biomarkers for cancer using Aclara’s eTag assay system.

Initially, they will be focusing on finding biomarkers for breast cancer, developing eTag assays for receptor complexes and phosphorylation events to profile EGF receptor family signal transduction pathways.

Later on, they aim to apply eTag assays to analyze patient samples retrospectively.

Aclara’s eTag technology is capable of profiling up to hundreds of proteins in a given cell lysate.


Despite Focus on Therapies, Proteomics to Be Strengthened at LSBC

Large Scale Biology of Vacaville, Calif., announced a number of management changes last week (see p. 2).

Kevin Ryan, the company’s new president and CEO, said in a statement that the company’s goal will be to accelerate the pace of commercialization of its proprietary therapies through internal marketing or alliances.

“We will immediately effect the changes necessary to marshal our resources to the single-minded pursuit of our commercialization goals,” stated CFO and new COO Ronald Artale

However, this does not imply that the company plans to reduce its proteomics activities: An LSBC spokesman told ProteoMonitor that since the company’s proteomics technologies are revenue-producing assets, “it would be safe to predict that proteomics will be one of the areas we will endeavor to strengthen through new business development.”


BioForce Nanosciences Receives $500K NIH Grant for Antibody Nanoarray

BioForce Nanosciences of Ames, Iowa, said last week that the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases has awarded it a $500,000 phase I SBIR grant entitled “Protein Nanoarray for Cytokine Profiling in Mouse Models.”

The company is planning to use the grant to build a cytokine antibody nanoarray for diagnostic tests that will require very small sample volumes, approaching that of a single cell.


Gyros Licenses Technology to Cellectricon

Gyros of Uppsala Science Park, Sweden, said last week that it had licensed a patent covering the production and use of elastomeric microfluidic devices to Cellectricon, also based in Sweden.

Cellelectricon said it would use processes protected by the patent to develop its first product line, a microfluidic chip called Dynaflow.

Gyros recently licensed the same patent to Fluidigm.


Definiens and Wita Join Forces on 2D Gel Analysis

Definiens of Munich and Wita of Berlin said earlier this month that they would jointly offer their 2D gel analysis products and services to customers.

Wita will provide 2D gel electrophoresis as a service or consult on this technology and adapt its 2D gels such they can be analyzed using Definiens’ Proteomweaver software. Both companies will co-market their respective technologies.

In addition, Wita plans to support further developments of Proteomweaver.


NCI/FDA Researchers Improve Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis Method

Scientists from the NCI and FDA said this month that they have improved the method for early diagnosis of ovarian cancer that they published last year in The Lancet. The method uses software developed by bioinformatics startup Correlogic Systems to analyze protein patterns in blood.

The researchers claim they could now identify all blood samples tested as being from either unaffected individuals or patients with ovarian cancer. Previously, they were only able to identify 95 percent of the non-cancer samples correctly. They attribute this improvement in specificity primarily to the use of a higher resolution mass spectrometer. In their prior study, they had used Ciphergen’s SELDI mass spectrometry technology.

These results were to be presented at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, which was canceled due to the SARS epidemic.


Syn X Pharma Receives Health Canada Approval for Heart Attack Test

Syn X Pharma of Toronto said this month that it has received approval in Canada to market a two-marker point-of-care test for the diagnosis of heart attacks, adding to its portfolio of other diagnostic tests.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.