A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Lumera (Bothell, Washington), a developer of nanotechnologies, reported extending a collaboration with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC; Charleston, South Carolina) to develop an antibody array measuring the levels and modifications of patient mitochondrial proteins. The company will retain rights to commercialize all jointly developed intellectual property.

Dr. Craig Beeson, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at MUSC and principle investigator, said, “Changes in mitochondrial proteins are known to be markers for certain pathologies and many adverse drug effects. The high throughput and label-free nature of Lumera’s platform enables us to develop an assay that will have significant time and cost advantages over existing technologies. In addition, we are very excited by the prospects of identifying new biomarkers.”

In other agreements: Rosetta Genomics (Rehovot, Israel) reported signing an agreement with the Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit), a research center for brain cancer, to provide the company with samples of metastases found in brain tissue. The samples will then be analyzed using Rosetta’s miRdicator technology to determine the origin of the metastasis.

Amir Avniel, president/CEO of Rosetta, said, “The samples we will receive from the Henry Ford Hospital will help validate our lead diagnostic program and advance it forward towards launching the first microRNA-based diagnostic test.”

The brain is one of the leading sites where metastases of unknown origin are found. Rosetta’s CUP [cancer of unknown primary] test is designed to identify the site where the metastasis originated by analyzing the unique microRNA signature of each metastasis and comparing it to the signature of known primary sites.

“Our CUP diagnostic program has been showing rapid progress over the past few months,” said Dalia Cohen, Rosetta’s Global Head of R&D. “We are continually expanding the test, and believe we have reached a point where we can confidently begin running ‘blind’ samples of metastases on our miRdicator platform to identify their origin.”

CUP occurs in 3% -5% of new cancer cases, whereby the site of origin of a tumor cannot be readily identified or a diagnosis of origin is equivocal.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered, naturally occurring form of RNAi. These small RNAs act as protein regulators and have the potential to form the basis for a “new class of diagnostics and therapeutics,” the company said.

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