05.04.2013 - Austrian and German researchers have presented a blood test to track prostate cancer development.
The new method offers huge benefits to patients who have to be monitored for prostate cancer recurrence by providing a less invasive approach than the currently used biopsies. Instead, study chiefs Jochen Geigl and Michael Speicher from Medical University of Graz and the University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, took blood samples, isolated the patient’s DNA and analysed it using an Illumina benchtop sequencer.
Genomic signatures displayed abnormal copy numbers of specific genetic markers, which indicated resistance against hormone deprivation therapy, the most common form of treatment in men with metastatic prostate cancer. Although being a small scale study including only 25 patients the presence of prostate cancer was flagged by copy number mistakes in sequences such as NCOA2, PHLPP1 and TMPRSS2-ERG. As expected each person's cancer signature was slightly different, however patients whose cancer did not respond to castration all had increased copy numbers of genes for the androgen receptor (AR).
According to the researchers, "the simplicity and low cost of such liquid biopsies make these genetic tests an attractive alternative to traditional biopsies. Better genetic information resulting from these tests may also help target treatment, especially of castration-resistant prostate cancer and aid personalised therapy in the clinic." Two years ago, Swiss researchers had presented a blood test detecting protein biomarkers to track prostate cancer. However, Next-Generation Sequencing is much faster and cheaper.
03.05.2016 Ipsen is strengthening its ties to long-time development partner Oncodesign, a Dijon-based cancer treatment biotech. The French pharma is handing over the pre-clinical pharmacology for its oncology research programmes over to Oncodesign.
29.04.2016 Swiss bank Group UBS has raised US$471m (€412m) for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, which was set up to invest in early-stage cancer treatments. The money raised by the fund, nearly half of which comes from investors in Asia, is the largest amount ever raised for such a cancer investment fund.
27.04.2016 More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).
21.04.2016 An expert panel’s final report on the fatal drug trial earlier this year in France states that the death of one of the participants was most likely caused by the drug’s toxicity and not by any violation of the rules.
21.04.2016 For up to US$685m (€606m), Dutch ArgenX has outlicensed its human antibody programme ARGX-115 to AbbVie. The pre-clinical immuno-oncology candidate targets a protein believed to contribute to immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.
19.04.2016 British drug developer Heptares Therapeutics and mAb maker Kymab Ltd have partnered up in yet another immuno-oncology collaboration. The companies plan to discover antibody meds targeting a superfamily of receptors.
15.04.2016 Not every company is put off by the current stock market climate. Swiss biopharma company GeNeuro has gone public at Euronext Paris, raising €33m in the process. Others, meanwhile, have to find different ways to raise money.
13.04.2016 Despite political disturbances, 2015 was a good year for the biotech scene in Switzerland. Net sales increased by 5.1% to CHF5,133m and 400 additional people found jobs in the sector. As usual, the new numbers were presented at the annual Swiss Biotech Day – which set new records as well.
12.04.2016 German-Dutch life science investment specialist Forbion Capital Partners has raised more than €180m for its venture capital fund Forbion Capital Fund III. Once more the money will primarily go to European start-ups.