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GE Healthcare and Dharmacon, Benitec, NCI and NIH, and New York Academy of Sciences


GE Healthcare to Market Dharmacon RNAi Products in Japan

Dharmacon said this week that it has signed a deal making GE Healthcare the exclusive distribution agent for its RNAi research products in Japan.

Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Benitec Names Cancer as Third Disease Area

Benitec reported in its annual general meeting presentation last week that cancer is the third disease area on which the company will focus its drug-development efforts.

The company is also pursuing treatments for HIV and hepatitis C.

Benitec noted in the presentation that it is negotiating with possible development and commercialization partners for the cancer program, which is expected to enter clinical trials in the third quarter of 2005.

NCI to Host NIH Symposium on Therapeutic Oligos

The National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research is sponsoring the upcoming National Institutes of Health Symposium on Therapeutic Oligonucleotides: Transcriptional and Translational Strategies for Silencing Gene Expression.

The event is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14, and will be held in Bethesda, Md., at the NIH’s Masur Auditorium.

According to the NCI, the conference is focused on such areas as antisense, RNAi, triple-helix, gene repair, DNA chips, and CpG immune modulatory oligonucleotides, as the development of these agents to clinical medicines and as basic research tools.

Specific talks include ones on designing better siRNAs; splice switching oligonucleotides; delective delivery of oligonucleotides and medicinal drugs by receptor-mediated endocytosis; development of a function overriding siRNA silencing in mammalian cells; transcription factor decoys; and modified oligonucleotide hybridization and genetic insertion.

Speakers slated to present at the event include Dharmacon’s Anastasia Khvorova; Barry Polisky of Sirna Therapeutics; Frank Szoka of the University of California, San Francisco; the City of Hope’s John Rossi; and Serge Beaucage from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Details on the symposium, including registration information, can be found at

NYAS Schedules RNAi Meeting for December

The New York Academy of Sciences has scheduled its latest RNAi Discussion Group meeting for Dec. 14.

The event, entitled “Structural and Mechanistic Insights into RNAi Components and Machinery,” will be held at the NYAS.

The meeting will feature speakers Dinshaw Patel from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Xinhua Ji from the National Institutes of Health; and Phillip Zamore from the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Details about the discussion group can be found at

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.