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Proteome Sciences, Buck Institute Partner on Test for Breast Cancer Treatment Response

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Proteome Sciences and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging announced today a collaboration to develop mass spectrometry-based tests aimed at improving response to breast cancer therapies.

Under the terms of the deal, Proteome Sciences will support the development of mass spec assays that measure changes in estrogen receptor alpha, a biomarker associated with response to anti-estrogen therapies for breast cancer.

The partners said that about 80 percent of breast cancers are characterized by over-expression of the nuclear receptor, which can be treated with therapies such as tamoxifen. However, one in every three estrogen receptor alpha-positive patients does not respond to treatment, and among those who do, between 30 percent and 50 percent develop resistance to the therapy during treatment. No method currently exists to reliably measure such changes, they added.

Chris Benz, principal investigator at the Buck Institute, said that research there has resulted in the identification of post-translational modifications in estrogen receptor alpha that lead to drug resistance. "With Proteome's support and expertise, we expect to rapidly translate this into routine tests that significantly improve the predictive clinical value of this important breast cancer biomarker," Benz said in a statement.

Ian Pike, COO of Proteome Sciences, added that the partners "will be able to rapidly convert fundamental scientific research into targeted protein assay products enabling better treatment choices through biomarker-guided selection of the most appropriate targeted therapies."

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