Cancer leaves its (bio)mark

Strategic Diagnostics and Fred Hutchinson Cancer seek biomarkers for use in early detection of a variety of cancers

Kimberely Sirk
SEATTLE—Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI), a provider ofbiotechnology-based products and services, and the Fred Hutchinson CancerResearch Center jointly announced in January that they will collaborate todiscover biomarkers for use in the early detection of a variety of cancers.Initial studies will center on pancreatic cancer, but those familiar with theproject say other cancers will also be studied over time.
 
 
SDI, which has provided immunotool solutions to numerousmarkets over the past 20 years, will provide the Hutchinson Center withapproximately 1,000 antibodies for the collaborative studies from its uniquecollection of cancer antigen antibodies.
 
 
The antibodies, which were designed using SDI's proprietaryGenomic Antibody Technology, will be provided to Dr. Paul Lampe, associateprogram head of the Molecular Diagnostics program at the Hutchinson Center.
 
 
"SDI sent us approximately 1,000 antibodies, free ofcharge," says Lampe. "A partnership with them made sense because they werewilling to grant free access to this unique collection of genomicantibody-designed cancer antigen antibodies without getting involved in lots ofpaperwork. We will array them and test them with disease and control samples.SDI will receive information on the performance of their markers."
 
 
SDI says that this trademarked technology enables fast androbust design and development of antibodies and antibody panels with highspecificity, sensitivity and reliability.
 
Lampe's laboratory will create slides from the antibodiesand use the product to test against up to 200 characterized patient casesamples and controls in a first discovery screening assay. Upon completion, theHutchinson Center and SDI plan to jointly publish the biomarker findings ofthese studies.
 
 
The Lampe laboratory investigates the control of cell growthboth at the cell biological/mechanistic level and through cancer biomarkerdiscovery. Lampe and colleagues study the cell biology that connects gapjunctions and intercellular communication with the control of cell growth and thecell cycle and how this relationship is disrupted during carcinogenesis.
 
 
SDI will have an option for the Hutchinson Center'scommercial rights to any work that is developed during the agreement.
 
 
The agreement is beneficial to both collaborators, with eachusing existing expertise and resources to collaborate to gain ground in theearly detection of cancers.
 
 
"They will get feedback on the utility of all of theirantibodies in biomarker discovery, and will have access to the commercialrights associated with the scientific findings," says Lampe. 
 
 
Deborah Day Barbara, SDI's vice president of businessdevelopment, says, the collaboration will help SDI verify the effectiveness ofbiomarkers in the battle against various cancers.
 
 
"This partnership will further SDI's understanding of howour proprietary technology, Genomic Antibody Technology, advances biomarkerdiscovery and development," Barbara says.
 
Biomarkers in this application are only now beginning togain ground as a potent new weapon to detect cancers early, yet SDI is hopefulthat the detection mechanism will be adapted quickly.
 
 
"The market potential for biomarkers is yet to be fullydefined, but SDI is hopeful that new biomarkers that may benefit the prognosis,diagnosis and treatment decisions for several important cancers may result fromthis collaborative effort," says Barbara. "It is widely believed in the cancerclinical community that biomarker information is an important new way foridentifying cancer in its earliest stages and in tailoring successfultherapeutic approaches on a patient-by-patient basis."
 
 
Fran DiNuzzo, president and CEO of SDI, said in a preparedstatement that, "We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with such aworld-class team of researchers. This initiative exemplifies the value of oursuite of fully integrated immunosolution capabilities. Moreover, it is alignedwith our strategic direction as an emerging contributor to the biomarkerdiscovery and development community. It is our hope that findings from these studiesprogress to help facilitate early detection of the most prominent and dangerouscancers."
 
 
The Hutchinson Center, incorporated as an independentresearch institution in 1972, has on its staff interdisciplinary teams ofworld-renowned scientists and humanitarians who together work to prevent,diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The center's researchteam includes three Nobel laureates. The center is perhaps best known for itspioneering working in bone-marrow transplantation.
 
 
SDI is a biotechnology company that provides a wide range oftesting products for human health-related industries that range frompharmaceutical to academia. Its products run the gamut from food safety testkits and diagnostic-grade antibody solutions.

Kimberely Sirk

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