A Medical Device Daily

Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California) reported the launch of the Collaborations in Cancer Research Program, an alliance that it has formed with up to 30 of Europe's leading cancer researchers. It said that participants in the program were selected on the basis of past contributions to their respective fields, and the potential to make "significant advancements" in their current research.

Affymetrix said it will "partially fund" selected research projects that demonstrate clinical utility, enabling participants to develop new approaches to elucidate cancer mechanisms and to accelerate discoveries in more than 10 different forms of cancer.

The studies selected for the Collaborations in Cancer Research Program incorporate a number of different microarray-based applications, including copy number analysis, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), gene expression and splicing pattern analysis.

In addition to helping participants obtain tools and training, Affymetrix will provide forums where investigators can exchange knowledge and share best practices.

Ashok Venkitaraman, MD, PhD, a professor in the department of oncology and the Medical Research Council Cancer Cell Unit at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK), said, "The program provides an opportunity to learn from other people's experience and drive our own research forward." said.

Venkitaraman's research uses ChIP to explore the roles of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which were among the first genes to be linked to a high risk of developing early-onset cancer. "The latest Affymetrix tiling arrays cover the entire genome at high enough resolution to enable new insights from ChIP and expression profiling experiments," he said. "The company also has a lot of in-house experience with data analysis and data collection, which is a big advantage for labs such as mine."

Michael Hummel, PhD, group leader at the Charité -Universit tsmedizin Berlin Institute of Pathology (Berlin), previously used Affymetrix expression arrays to uncover a 58-gene expression signature that reliably and reproducibly distinguishes patients with Burkitt's lymphoma from those with large-B-cell lymphoma. Now, his team is using Affymetrix promoter tiling arrays to study transcription factor binding in lymphoma.

"Extremely complex assays such as ChIP-on-chip on Affymetrix tiling arrays are able to generate a reliable, reproducible and broad view on the global transcription factor binding profile," said Hummel. "This is really fascinating because the whole-genome approach provides powerful insight into gene regulation."

Many researchers in the program are exploring the cancer genome with integrated approaches made possible using the Affymetrix platform. The ability to combine information from gene expression profiling, copy number alterations, alternative splicing and gene regulation is pivotal to understanding the molecular basis of cancer, according to the company.

"It's a big advantage that all of these experiments can be done on compatible platforms," said James Reid, PhD, a staff scientist working alongside Marco Pierotti, PhD, who is the scientific director of the National Institute of Tumors IRCSS Foundation (Milan, Italy). Pierotti's group is studying changes in DNA copy number and mRNA alternative splicing as they relate to mutations associated with the development of colon cancer.

Other researchers in the Collaborations in Cancer Research Program are exploring leukemia, as well as cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, thyroid, bladder, skin and others. The results of the participating studies will be showcased to the cancer community at an Affymetrix-sponsored European cancer meeting in the second half of this year.

Ruby Gadelrab, senior market development manager at Affymetrix and director of the program, said, "We hope that their work will facilitate potential breakthroughs by developing and demonstrating novel approaches to cancer genomics."

Affymetrix said that, later this year, it will expand the Collaborations in Cancer Research Program to selected groups in North America and Japan.

Affymetrix's GeneChip microarray technology has become the industry-standard tool for analyzing complex genetic information.

NIMS gets European patent for Exer-Rest

Non-Invasive Monitoring Systems (NIMS; North Bay Village, Florida), reported receiving from the European Patent Office a patent titled, "Reciprocating Movement Platform for Shifting Subject To and Fro In Headwards-Footwards Direction."

CEO Gary Macleod said the patent, a counterpart to the company's first U.S. patent for the technology issued in 2000, covers the countries of Switzerland, Germany, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy and the Netherlands.

"This notification provides patent protection to our flagship product, Exer-Rest," he said. "We anticipate marketing and sales will begin in these European countries during the second half of 2007."

Under the CE mark, the motion platform is intended for use as an aid to improve circulation, increase joint mobility and provide temporary relief of minor aches and pains, to be used under supervision of medical personnel.

Marvin Sackner, chairman of NIMS, said, "This patent describes the means to achieve effective movements of the motion platform and applications for its use. The uses, among others claimed in the patent that have since been validated by scientific studies and published in the medical literature, include non-invasive ventilation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and release of physiologically active amounts of beneficial mediators such as nitric oxide from the inner lining of blood vessels into the circulation"

Distribution accord covers DerMax

Greystone Pharmaceuticals (Fort Myers, Florida) reported signing an agreement with 3M Health Care (Loughborough, UK) for the distribution of Greystone's advanced wound care dressing, DerMax, in the UK.

Under the agreement, 3M Health will brand and distribute DerMax in the UK. Greystone's European wound care products subsidiary, Dermagenics Europe, will manufacture the product for 3M.

DerMax is indicated for use as a wound dressing to manage pressure ulcers (stages I-IV), stasis ulcers, diabetic skin ulcers, skin irritations, cuts and abrasions. Greystone said it is the first wound care product allowed to claim the ability to down-regulate the production of certain protein enzymes called matrix metallo-proteinases (MMPs).