AviaraDx, Inc., formerly known as Arcturus Bioscience, Inc., has announced that it has entered into a major research collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center to identify molecular profiles of multiple types of cancer for the development of diagnostic technologies and tests in the field of cancer drug response prediction.
Over the next two years, teams at MGH and AviaraDx will conduct a broad molecular profiling program to determine genes, gene signatures and polymorphisms that correlate with response to specific therapeutic agents in a wide range of different cancers.
The initiative aims to identify and commercialize tumor biomarkers that predict which patients may respond to targeted drugs.
MGH and AviaraDx will perform gene sequencing and gene expression analysis in a large number of cancers.
The project results will not only provide information to help identify patients likely to respond to a certain cancer drug, but also provide guidance with regard to a broader range of cancer types likely responding to an established drug.
Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD, and Jeff Settleman, PhD, of MGH have extensive experience in the identification of genetic markers associated with drug response.
Most recently, they reported the identification of a gene mutation that appears to identify those lung cancer patients who will likely respond to the cancer drug Iressa®.
Mark Erlander, Ph.D. and Xiao-Jun Ma, Ph.D., of AviaraDx have developed the company's Molecular Cancer Identification (MCID) technology, which has been licensed to clinical laboratory partners in the US and Europe.
"The MGH Cancer Center is a world leading medical research center, and we are pleased to be collaborating with them in a program that may result in the development of molecular diagnostic tests for drug response prediction in cancer," said Antonius Schuh, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of AviaraDx, Inc.
"Transforming the molecular basis of cancer into diagnostic technologies with proven clinical utility is the core focus for AviaraDx."
"Our molecular cancer identification (MCID) and breast cancer profiling (BCP) technologies are impressive achievements in this space."
"Our goal is the development of a rational basis for the selection of a specific drug regimen in a given patient," said Dr. Haber, who is the director of the MGH Cancer Center.
"We are hopeful that this collaboration will generate technologies of relevant molecular diagnostic tests for predicting what therapy is best suited for specific patients."