New partnership focuses on prostate cancer diagnostics

Collaboration combines patented gene panel with proprietary technology

Rockville, MD--Working in partnership with the Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), representatives of The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. have signed a license agreement and follow-on Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) that could lead to a new diagnostic test for prostate cancer. Under the agreements, Gen-Probe Incorporated has obtained a non-exclusive license to develop and commercialize a diagnostic test utilizing a novel panel of genes.

Under the CRADA, Gen-Probe will fund studies to be conducted at CPDR over the next three years. The studies will be run under the direction of Shiv Srivastava, Ph.D., CPDR's co-director and scientific director, and professor in the USU Department of Surgery. He will work with a Gen-Probe research and development team led by Harry Rittenhouse, Ph.D., a nationally recognized prostate cancer expert who is Gen-Probe's senior director of cancer research.

CPDR's discoveries of a novel prostate-specific gene (PCGEM1), as well as the ETS-Related Gene (ERG) as one of most frequently altered oncogenes in prostate cancer, have led to collaborative opportunities with Gen-Probe. CPDR is now undertaking to assess the clinical utility of PCGEM1 and ERG expression alterations in prostate cancer patients.

"This exciting new collaboration is very timely, leveraging CPDR's discoveries with Gen-Probe's critical work developing a new gene-based urine test for prostate cancer," said Srivastava. "The primary goal of the initiative is to create a new generation of highly specific gene panels in urine for the diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer. This work could complement or significantly improve the current PSA blood test, which suffers a lack of specificity."

Through the collaboration, CPDR's oncogenes may be studied in combination with other promising prostate cancer markers owned by Gen-Probe, including PCA3 and AMACR.

Established in 1991 through collaboration between USU and HJF, CPDR integrates basic science research and translational research approaches to study promising detection and treatment techniques for prostate cancer. The program continues to make significant progress through its basic and clinical research programs and its multi-center database.

The USU-HJF Joint Office of Technology Transfer has filed several patent applications on the unique use of the combined panel of genes, as well as on new genes discovered by CPDR. HJF's technology transfer staff encourages scientists and private industry to collaborate on research and development projects, with the goal of making innovative medical technologies available for clinical use.

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HJF (www.hjf.org) is a private, not-for-profit organization chartered by Congress to support military medical research and education at USU and throughout military medicine. HJF provides scientific and management services for CPDR (www.cpdr.org), a tri-service research program.

USU (www.usuhs.edu) is a fully accredited federal school of medicine and graduate school of nursing. The University is recognized worldwide as a preeminent center for the study of military and emergency medicine, preventive medicine, tropical diseases, disaster medicine and adaptation to extreme environments.

Gen-Probe Incorporated (www.Gen-Probe.com) is a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of rapid, accurate and cost-effective nucleic acid tests used primarily to diagnose human diseases and screen donated human blood.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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