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Expression Pathology Collaborates With Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital and University Health Network

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Expression Pathology Inc. has announced a collaboration with two leading Toronto medical research organizations, the Hospital for Sick Children and the University Health Network which is made up of Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital (UHN).

The collaboration will apply Expression Pathology’s patented technology for tissue protein analysis to develop and validate an assay to improve the identification of patients most likely to respond to anti-EGFR cancer drugs.

EGFR, the epidermal growth factor receptor, is a cancer pathway protein targeted by several important cancer therapeutics on the market and many more in development. Current methods for selecting patients that will most likely respond to these drugs are not optimal.

The collaboration combines Expression Pathology’s Liquid Tissue® SRM proteomic assay platform, with Sick Kids’ advanced mass spectrometry capabilities and UHN’s pathology and oncology expertise.

The project addresses two key challenges: the ability to accurately measure the EGFR protein and its activation in cancers, and to do so in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue, the standard form of tissue preservation used in medical facilities worldwide.

Expression Pathology’s Director® laser micro-dissection technology makes possible rapid, automated collection of cancer cells from patient FFPE tissue. Its Liquid Tissue® sample preparation solubilizes those cells into a liquid that can be run on advanced mass spectrometry instruments. Recent advances in a mass spectrometry technique called Selective Reaction Monitoring (SRM) have made possible accurate measurement of targeted proteins, like EGFR, in minute amounts of sample.

"We are truly excited to be part of this dynamic collaboration. Dr. Michael Moran and his team at Sick Kids bring outstanding capabilities to help develop and optimize this SRM assay” said Dr. Jon Burrows, Expression Pathology’s Vice President of Research and Development. “Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao and his colleagues at Princess Margaret Hospital bring pre-eminent clinical expertise in anti-EGFR treatment and access to tissue samples suitable for validating the utility of our assay. This is part of a broad program we have embarked on to exploit our unique ability to apply mass spectrometry to FFPE tissue. We are developing quantitative companion diagnostic Liquid Tissue® SRM Assays for many important protein pathways targeted by existing and emerging cancer drugs.”