HistoRx (New Haven, California) reported that it has entered into a research collaboration with the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG; Philadelphia), a National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, Maryland)-funded clinical cooperative group.

HistoRx will provide RTOG researchers access to HistoRx's AQUA (Automated Quantitative Analysis) technology for biomarker analysis and will develop customized immunohistochemical assays to be used by RTOG in investigating the relationship between specific protein biomarkers and clinical responsiveness in brain tumor patients.

HistoRx said it intends to commercialize assays and reagents developed in the course of the collaboration for clinical use as predictive diagnostics.

The RTOG studies will use a combination of high-throughput tissue microarrays, multiplex analysis, and AQUA analysis-based assays to determine whether brain tumor patients are likely to respond to a specific targeted therapy and whether the biomarkers under investigation may be used to predict survival.

"We selected HistoRx's AQUA technology based on its unique ability to measure protein biomarker expression and localization in diseased tissue sections in a precisely quantitative, reproducible, and standardized way," said Arnab Chakravarti, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) and a member of the RTOG Translational Research Program. "By eliminating the subjective interpretation inherent in conventional qualitative immunohistochemical analysis, we expect this collaboration will provide a substantial boost to our research in brain cancer by enabling RTOG researchers to reveal stronger, more reliable statistical correlations linking protein biomarker expression with prediction of patient response to therapy and disease outcome."

"As the relationship between protein expression patterns and disease gains an expanding role in new drug and diagnostic development and in the way physicians treat patients and individualize therapeutic regimens, we continue to advance our goal of replacing conventional immunohistochemistry with AQUA analysis, a more precise and consistent tool that is enabling pathologists and clinicians to integrate data from predictive biomarker studies confidently into research, diagnosis, and patient treatment," said Rana Gupta, CEO of HistoRx.

The company said that the AQUA technology is the first platform capable of measuring biomarker concentration with subcellular resolution to generate more precise, efficient answers about the safety and effectiveness of new therapeutics in development and to enable development of companion diagnostic tests for targeted therapies.

RTOG is a multi-institutional international clinical cooperative group. It has more than 35 years of experience in conducting clinical trials and is comprised of more than 280 major research institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The group currently is conducting more than 40 active studies that involve radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapeutic drugs or which investigate quality of life issues and their effects on the cancer patient.

In other agreements news:

Tenet Healthcare (Dallas) reported that its 25 year operating lease agreement with the MetroCrest Hospital Authority (MHA; Carrolton, Texas) to operate the 155-bed RHD Memorial Medical Center and the 207-bed Trinity Medical Center, both located in the Dallas area, expired on Aug. 31.

The company had previously disclosed the MHA had announced in August of 2006 that another company was selected to manage these two hospitals following the expiration of Tenet's lease. Both hospitals were open and accredited with The Joint Commission upon their return to the MHA.

Tenet, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates acute care hospitals and related healthcare services.

Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported new agreements for orthopedic power tools have been awarded to Brasseler USA (Savannah, Georgia), Conmed Linvatec (Utica, New York), MicroAire Surgical Instruments (Charlottesville, Virginia), and Stryker Instruments (Kalamazoo, Michigan0.

The agreements with Brasseler, ConMed and MicroAire were effective May 1. The agreement with Stryker was effective August 1. These agreements offer discounted pricing for orthopedic power tools to acute and continuum of care members of the Premier alliance.

Serving 1,700 hospitals and more than 47,000 other healthcare sites, Premier is one of the largest healthcare alliances in the U.S.