Rubicon Genomics and Abbott Molecular Sign Agreement to Co-Develop Simple Non-Invasive Cancer Diagnostic Tests
News Nov 01, 2005
Rubicon Genomics, Inc., have announced a multi-year Research and Option Agreement with Abbott Molecular, a division of Abbott, to develop and commercialize its MethylPlex™ methylation detection technology for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer.
MethylPlex™ is designed to be a very sensitive and simple method to detect the patterns of abnormal DNA methylation arising in serum and urine during tumor formation and progression.
Methylation is a natural process that occurs when a methyl group is introduced into one of DNA's four bases, cytosine. The presence of methylation is responsible for controlling the activity of genes by turning them off, like a switch, when not needed.
By measuring the differences in the methylation patterns between healthy and diseased tissue, a change in gene activity that could trigger diseases such as cancer can be detected.
The patient tests will employ proprietary Rubicon methylation markers in conjunction with a radically-simplified method to detect those markers, which overcomes the barriers of sensitivity, cost and time that have hampered the implementation of DNA methylation screening up to this point.
The primary focus of the collaboration will be non-invasive detection of prostate and bladder cancer. "We believe that DNA methylation is the most sensitive and specific indication of early cancer detection and prognosis," said Fred Beyerlein, President and CEO of Rubicon Genomics.
"We are looking forward to working with Abbott, a recognized leader in the field of cancer diagnostics. This is a great match of innovative technology and in-depth disease and market expertise."
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.