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

n imaging tests, we may prevent unnecessary surgery or invasive procedures,'' Dr. Weiss said. "In addition, our collaboration will seek to identify better prognostic indicators for predicting the course of the disease and the prospects for recovery."

Austin-based Asuragen is a leader in the development and use of microRNA technology to help find biomarkers that can pinpoint the genetic origins of disease. MicroRNAs are small molecules that regulate gene expression in the process of making proteins as well as directing the structure and function of cells. This regulation usually prevents cancer and other diseases.

Asuragen's focus on diagnostics for pancreatic cancer includes the development of its Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Test, which was the world's first microRNA-based diagnostic test. This CLIA-based test is intended as an aid-in-diagnosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) versus chronic pancreatitis in resected pancreatic specimens. Asuragen is currently conducting a multi-institution study to develop a miRNA-based test for PDAC using fine needle aspirate specimens.

"This project to develop a blood-based, miRNA test for pancreatic cancer is a natural extension of Asuragen's pancreatic cancer projects and represents an exciting step forward in the effort to improve diagnosis and treatment of this deadly form of cancer," said Matt Winkler, CEO and CSO of Asuragen. "Asuragen recognized the value of blood-based miRNA markers very early and has been working steadily to enable early detection of cancer in circulating biofluids using miRNAs. We see great potential for this to transform screening and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and ultimately the survival of pancreatic cancer patients."

The only current prognostic in pancreatic cancer is a blood test for tumor markers known as CA-19-9. "If we can identify biomarkers that improve on the performance of CA-19-9 as a prognostic test for disease relapse after surgery, tha
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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