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This Week In Diagnostics

Blood test for bowel cancer A team of Australian scientists report that they identified new genes that show identifiable changes in the blood of people with bowel cancer. The discovery, they say, could have the potential to underpin a new blood test that would signal the early stages of bowel cancer. The research, which was presented at Digestive Diseases Week held in San Diego last week, is the result of over five years of scientific collaboration between the Australian biotechnology company Clinical Genomics, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer at Flinders University in Adelaide, A bowel cancer blood test based on these discoveries is now under development and is currently being tested with patients from Australia, the United States and Europe. The Australian research team is hoping to attract interest from other clinicians and scientists around the world to help them further validate the test.   Affymetrix and ScreenCell collaborate on circulating tumor cell technology Affymetrix (NASDAQ: AFFX) and ScreenCell report that they have signed a worldwide distribution agreement covering ScreenCell’s isolation devices and dilution buffers, designed for the collection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood. Affymetrix becomes the exclusive distributor of ScreenCell®products used in combination with in situ hybridization (ISH) assays, microarray assays, and other non-PCR based nucleic acid assays.   Quest extends endocrine diagnostic test menu Quest Diagnostics says that it has extended its endocrine diagnostics menu with the introduction of four new tests panels for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), an endocrine disorder found in newborns, children and women. The new offerings feature a comprehensive panel for newborn screening for CAH. The panel enables analysis of all 13 steroids associated with CAH using the highly sensitive and specific liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) measurement technique. The test can be performed on a sample volume of 0.1 milliliter, making it suitable for newborn heel-prick sample collection.   Van Andel Research Institute and Dako to work on MET4 MAb The inappropriate expression of the c-MET cell surface receptor in human solid tumors has directed research towards the development of companion diagnostics to identify those patients who could benefit from c-MET targeted therapies. It has been found that the MET4 monoclonal antibody, developed by George F. Vande Woude, Ph.D. and Brian Cao, M.D. of the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and Beatrice Knudsen, M.D., Ph.D., formerly of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, detects the MET cancer-causing gene in human tumors and works well in classical diagnostic procedures. Now VARI and Dako have announced an agreement to license, manufacture and distribute cancer diagnostics utilizing the MET4 antibody. Diagnostic tools with the MET4 antibody will be developed and manufactured by Dako for clinically relevant diagnostic indications and commercialized worldwide. Dako also holds the right to develop MET4 companion diagnostic assays (pharmDx™ assays) in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies to identify cancer patients who may benefit from MET-targeted therapies. -Peter Winter

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