Scientists identify six genes associated with survival in diffuse large B cell lymphoma

04/27/04

Discovery enabled by Applied Biosystems TaqMan® gene expression assays and real-time PCR instruments

In a paper that will be published on Thursday, April 29, 2004 in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of scientists from Stanford University and Applied Biosystems (NYSE:ABI), an Applera Corporation business, describe the identification of six genes associated with survival in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The paper, entitled "Prediction of survival in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma based on the expression of six genes," presents an analysis of 36 genes that had been associated in other studies with survival in DLBCL and which were selected from among more than 10,000 candidate genes. This study is the first to identify a set of specific genes whose activity correlates with survival, and which were previously associated with this disease in multiple published studies employing a variety of molecular, biological, or technical methods.

Expression profiles for these 36 genes were measured in 66 independent DLBCL tumor samples using real-time PCR and the Applied Biosystems TaqMan® Gene Expression Assays on an ABI PRISM® 7900HT Sequence Detection System. Together, this system enables rapid, accurate, and cost-effective discovery and validation of gene expression patterns in complex diseases. The genes most predictive of overall survival in DLBCL were LMO2, BCL6, FN1, CCND2, SCYA3 and BCL2.

"These findings are interesting because they propose that molecular profiling may help refine prognoses in this difficult-to-treat blood cancer," said Ronald Levy, MD, Professor of Medicine and lead author, Stanford University Medical Center. "Currently, physicians rely on the International Prognostic Index (IPI) to evaluate patients with DLBCL. This predictive index is based on clinical factors including age, stage of the tumor, and the presence of disease that has spread outside the point of origin. While the IPI provides a standard way to evaluate cases of DLBCL, clinical outcomes among DLBCL patients with identical IPI values vary considerably. We look forward to further exploration of this model by replicating the study in a larger and more diverse population. The ultimate goal is that these profiles may lead to insights that could eventually be applicable toward the development of new medicines, as well as to improved means of matching patients with appropriate treatment regimens."

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common type of lymphoma in adults, with an annual incidence in the United States of more than 25,000 cases, accounting for 30-40% of cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. While combination chemotherapy has improved treatment outcomes, currently fewer than half of DLBCL patients achieve durable remission.

"These findings provide an important example of the practical applications for the latest genomic technologies and the type of research that is at the interface of basic and clinical research," said Michael W. Hunkapiller, Ph.D., President of Applied Biosystems. "Applied Biosystems is pleased to have worked with Dr. Levy and his colleagues in planning and executing these studies, and we look forward to collaborating with other clinical researchers to further advance the field of disease research."

About the Applied Biosystems TaqMan® Products

The Applied Biosystems TaqMan® Genomic Products (formerly known as the Assays-on-DemandTM Products) are a comprehensive collection of pre-designed primer and probe sets that comprise over 22,000 gene expression assays and over 157,000 SNP genotyping assays. The Applied Biosystems TaqMan® Gene Expression Assays allow researchers to quickly and easily perform quantitative gene expression studies on human, mouse, and rat genes. The Applied Biosystems TaqMan® SNP Genotyping Assays represent the broadest collection of pre-designed and validated SNP genotyping assays for focused association studies, which look at a smaller number of SNPs over many samples. TaqMan® Gene Expression Assays for the six genes identified in this study are available for purchase on the Applied Biosystems Web site. To browse and order, please visit http://myscience.appliedbiosystems.com/.

About Applera Corporation and Applied Biosystems

Applera Corporation consists of two operating groups. The Applied Biosystems Group serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries, develop new pharmaceuticals, and conduct standardized testing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of $1.7 billion during fiscal 2003. The Celera Genomics Group (NYSE:CRA), located in Rockville, MD, and South San Francisco, CA, is engaged principally in integrating advanced technologies to discover and develop new therapeutics. Celera intends to leverage its proteomic, bioinformatic, and genomic capabilities to identify and validate drug targets, and to discover and develop new therapeutics. Its Celera Discovery SystemTM online platform, marketed exclusively by Applied Biosystems, is an integrated source of information based on the human genome and other biological and medical sources. Celera Diagnostics, a 50/50 joint venture between Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics, is focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of novel diagnostic products. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at http://www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800-762-6923. Information about Applied Biosystems is available at http://www.appliedbiosystems.com/.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking. These may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as "believe," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "should," and "planned," among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Applera Corporation's current expectations. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" for such forward-looking statements. In order to comply with the terms of the safe harbor, Applera Corporation notes that a variety of factors could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to (1) rapidly changing technology and dependence on development of new products; (2) sales dependent on customers' capital spending policies and government-sponsored research; (3) uncertainty of the availability of intellectual property protection and the ability to protect trade secrets, and the risk of infringement claims; and (4) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera Corporation's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Applera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.

Copyright© 2004. Applera Corporation. All rights reserved. Applied Biosystems and Celera are registered trademarks and Applera, Assays-on-Demand, Celera Diagnostics, Celera Discovery System, and Celera Genomics are trademarks of Applera Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or certain other countries.

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