New test proves effective in more cancers

10/05/05

Sydney, Australia; San Diego, CA, USA - October 6, 2005 - Avantogen Limited (ACU:ASX) today announced that cancer researchers at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR) and Avantogen Limited have achieved an important milestone towards more individually targeted and effective treatments for cancer patients.

The research team has now identified crucial genes in a range of common cancers that have been reported to predict a patient's response to treatment. This follows the team's earlier success in studying a tumor suppressor gene associated with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in children.

By using a simple test developed at the Institute, they can rapidly detect the presence or absence of these tumor suppressor genes in the patient's cancer cells. Tumor suppressor genes are linked to a variety of cancers including lung, breast, renal, colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, lymphoma and malignant melanoma.

Professor Ursula Kees, who heads the Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Research Division at TICHR, said progress over the past 18 months has been excellent.

"The absence of specific tumor suppressor genes in tumor specimens provides a valuable genetic marker to help us determine who is at greater risk of relapse," she said.

"We've now used this new rapid test in a cancer that occurs in adults and found it to be effective in providing important information about the genetic makeup of the tumor - information that doctors could use at an early stage to decide on the most effective treatment regimen for that individual patient."

Dr Leonard Firestone, CEO and managing director of Avantogen, said his company is currently considering the most appropriate commercial model to bring the test to the market. The new test is based on fast and simple procedures that can be run out of most diagnostic laboratories.

Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Professor Fiona Stanley, said the Institute was delighted to partner with Avantogen on this development because of their strong credentials in the oncology field.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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