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TGen-Asuragen partner to advance pancreatic cancer research
Date:4/16/2010

PHOENIX, Ariz. April 16, 2010 The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Asuragen Inc. today announced a research agreement that could lead to ways of detecting cancer before it spreads.

TGen's Dr. Glen Weiss, an Associate Investigator in TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division, plans initially to work with Asuragen to search for new ways of screening patients for pancreatic cancer, one of the fastest moving and deadliest types of cancer.

The project will combine the microRNA expertise and diagnostic development experience of Asuragen with TGen's strengths in basic and clinical research.

TGen moved to partner with Asuragen on this project because of its reputation as an excellent assay development partner, demonstrated market success and research compatibility with Dr. Weiss' work with microRNA technology.

Currently, there is no screening test in common use for pancreatic cancer, which in the U.S. is the fourth leading cause of cancer death, annually killing more than 35,000. Also, there is no diagnostic test, other than examining diseased tissue. As a result, pancreatic cancer often is not detected until the cancer is in advanced stages, when patients face diminishing treatment options.

"If we can identify among higher-risk individuals a potential biomarker that suggests additional investigation is warranted, such as a imaging, that has potential value particularly if it leads to earlier detection and catching the cancer in an early stage," said Dr. Weiss, who also is director of Thoracic Oncology at TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare (TCRS).

TCRS is a partnership between TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare that enables laboratory discoveries to be quickly turned into targeted therapies that can be tested with patients at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center in Scottsdale.

"If you can use a blood test to identify metastatic pancreatic cancer before it shows up o
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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