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Cancer leaves its (bio)mark
SEATTLE—Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI), a provider of biotechnology-based products and services, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center jointly announced in January that they will collaborate to discover biomarkers for use in the early detection of a variety of cancers. Initial studies will center on pancreatic cancer, but those familiar with the project say other cancers will also be studied over time.
SDI, which has provided immunotool solutions to numerous markets over the past 20 years, will provide the Hutchinson Center with approximately 1,000 antibodies for the collaborative studies from its unique collection of cancer antigen antibodies.
The antibodies, which were designed using SDI's proprietary Genomic Antibody Technology, will be provided to Dr. Paul Lampe, associate program head of the Molecular Diagnostics program at the Hutchinson Center.
"SDI sent us approximately 1,000 antibodies, free of charge," says Lampe. "A partnership with them made sense because they were willing to grant free access to this unique collection of genomic antibody-designed cancer antigen antibodies without getting involved in lots of paperwork. 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 and robust design and development of antibodies and antibody panels with high specificity, sensitivity and reliability.
Lampe's laboratory will create slides from the antibodies and use the product to test against up to 200 characterized patient case samples and controls in a first discovery screening assay. Upon completion, the Hutchinson Center and SDI plan to jointly publish the biomarker findings of these studies.
The Lampe laboratory investigates the control of cell growth both at the cell biological/mechanistic level and through cancer biomarker discovery. Lampe and colleagues study the cell biology that connects gap junctions and intercellular communication with the control of cell growth and the cell cycle and how this relationship is disrupted during carcinogenesis.
SDI will have an option for the Hutchinson Center's commercial rights to any work that is developed during the agreement.
The agreement is beneficial to both collaborators, with each using existing expertise and resources to collaborate to gain ground in the early detection of cancers.
"They will get feedback on the utility of all of their antibodies in biomarker discovery, and will have access to the commercial rights associated with the scientific findings," says Lampe.
Deborah Day Barbara, SDI's vice president of business development, says, the collaboration will help SDI verify the effectiveness of biomarkers in the battle against various cancers.
"This partnership will further SDI's understanding of how our proprietary technology, Genomic Antibody Technology, advances biomarker discovery and development," Barbara says.
Biomarkers in this application are only now beginning to gain ground as a potent new weapon to detect cancers early, yet SDI is hopeful that the detection mechanism will be adapted quickly.
"The market potential for biomarkers is yet to be fully defined, but SDI is hopeful that new biomarkers that may benefit the prognosis, diagnosis and treatment decisions for several important cancers may result from this collaborative effort," says Barbara. "It is widely believed in the cancer clinical community that biomarker information is an important new way for identifying cancer in its earliest stages and in tailoring successful therapeutic approaches on a patient-by-patient basis."
Fran DiNuzzo, president and CEO of SDI, said in a prepared statement that, "We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with such a world-class team of researchers. This initiative exemplifies the value of our suite of fully integrated immunosolution capabilities. Moreover, it is aligned with our strategic direction as an emerging contributor to the biomarker discovery and development community. It is our hope that findings from these studies progress to help facilitate early detection of the most prominent and dangerous cancers."
The Hutchinson Center, incorporated as an independent research institution in 1972, has on its staff interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians who together work to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The center's research team includes three Nobel laureates. The center is perhaps best known for its pioneering working in bone-marrow transplantation.
SDI is a biotechnology company that provides a wide range of testing products for human health-related industries that range from pharmaceutical to academia. Its products run the gamut from food safety test kits and diagnostic-grade antibody solutions.