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Rosetta Genomics, Henry Ford Health System, Nucleonics, Invitrogen, University of Queensland

Rosetta to Collaborate with Henry Ford Hospital on miRNA Dx for Brain Cancer  
Rosetta Genomics this week said that it has signed an agreement to work with the Henry Ford Health System to develop microRNA-based diagnostics and prognostics for brain cancer.
Under the arrangement, the partners will perform a genome-wide molecular analysis of human brain cancer tumors to identify novel miRNA biomarkers with diagnostic and prognostic potential. Rosetta said it will then use its proprietary miRNA-extraction technologies to conduct additional analyses from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples received from the Henry Ford Hospital.
Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal builds upon a collaboration formed last year when the Henry Ford Hospital agreed to provide brain cancer samples to Rosetta (see RNAi News, May 3, 2007).

Nucleonics Treats First Patient in Phase I Study of RNAi-Based Hepatitis B Drug
Nucleonics last week said that it has begun treating patients in a phase I trial of its RNAi-based hepatitis B therapy Nuc B1000.
The drug is plasmid DNA encoding four short hairpin RNA molecules, each under the control of an RNA polymerase III promoter that targets a different portion of the hepatitis B genome. Nucleonics had at one time been expecting to move the drug into human testing in early 2005 (see RNAi News, 4/16/2005), but missed that goal when optimization of the drug’s formulation for intravenous delivery proved more challenging than expected. 


The company said it plans to enroll 15 patients infected with HBV with mild to moderate disease and no evidence of cirrhosis at three US clinical sites and two sites in Eastern Europe. Patients will be organized into five escalating-dose groups of three patients per group.
The study’s primary endpoints are safety related, but secondary endpoints include measuring biological indicators of efficacy such as viral levels, Nucleonics said.

Invitrogen Licenses Non-Coding RNA from University of Queensland
Invitrogen said this week that it has exclusively licensed the rights to commercialize non-coding RNA content bioinformatically predicted and experimentally validated by researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia.
The deal was signed with IMBcom Proprietary Limited, a company established by the university to commercialize its discoveries.
“MicroRNAs, which are the focus of current non-coding RNA research, are just one small subset of the non-coding RNA world," Peter Welch, director of research and development for gene expression profiling at Invitrogen, said in a statement. "MicroRNAs have a discrete function in gene regulation, but the larger non-coding RNAs are involved in multiple roles such as cellular aging and protein assembly, in addition to simple gene regulation."
The company said that it expects to commercialize the RNA sequences “over the next few years.”

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.