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Illumina Technology Uncovers Genetic Risk Factors Associated with Prostate Cancer and Lou Gehrig's Disease

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Illumina has announced that scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and their partners in the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) initiative identified a specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs6983267, that strongly correlates to the development of prostate cancer, a disease that more than 218,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with this year.

This SNP, in addition to a different genetic variant previously found by NCI researchers could explain why as many as 25 percent of prostate cancer cases develop in white men.

Stephen Chanock, M.D., Director of the NCI's Core Genotyping Facility in the Advanced Technology Center and his team detected the most recent genetic variation using the Company's Infinium® HumanHap300 and HumanHap240S BeadChips. Accepted by Nature Genetics for publication, this study appeared online April 1, 2007.

In a separate study published in the Lancet Neurology journal on March 12, 2007, 34 unique variations in the human genetic code were identified and may explain the underling factors that contribute to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Under the direction of John Hardy, Ph.D. and Bryan Traynor, M.D., from the National Institute on Aging's Laboratory of Neurogenetics and the Section on Developmental Genetic Epidemiology, National Institute of Mental Health, Illumina's HumanHap550 BeadChip was used to produce more than 300 million genotypes in a search for those SNPs that increase risk for ALS.

Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS fatally attacks 10,000 Americans each year with an estimated one in 1,000 people is at risk of developing the disease.

"A key goal of our product development efforts is to provide backwards compatibility for our customers. This means that as we develop new generations of products, current customers have the seamless ability to achieve the same level of content as found on the new BeadChip," said Carsten Rosenow, DNA Analysis Marketing Manager.

"For example the HumanHap240S and HumanHap450S BeadChips give researchers the opportunity to upgrade from the HumanHap300 and HumanHap550 respectively, obtaining the same level of content as found on the HumanHap550 and Human 1M."

"We recognize the importance of developing technologies that are powerful and scalable, and that deliver industry-leading value that enable users to find the answers they need. The prostate cancer and Lou Gehrig's disease studies are examples of how our tools are being used to accelerate the discovery of association markers for complex disease," said Jay Flatley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Illumina.