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Center for Molecular Medicine One of the First Midwest Labs to Offer Advanced Test for Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ - The Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) today announced it is one of the first Midwest-based laboratories to offer the Veridex CellSearch(TM) System to physicians with patients suffering from metastatic breast cancer (also called stage IV or "advanced").

The FDA-approved CellSearch System is the first diagnostic test to automatically identify and count circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream from a blood sample. Studies have shown that if five or more CTCs are present in a drawn blood sample, progression-free and overall survival in these patients are shorter than if the CTC value is below five cells. This test enables physicians to monitor their patients' progress during treatment for metastatic breast cancer, allowing the physician to make changes as necessary.

According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, an estimated 40,460 women will die from breast cancer in 2007 with another 178,480 diagnosed. Of the 40,460 women who die, the majority will die from recurrent metastatic cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is the stage of breast cancer when the cancerous cells (or circulating tumor cells) break away from the tumor in the breast and spread to other locations in the body and grow. Although many other treatment options are available, physicians usually must wait several months before being able to determine if a selected treatment is effective.

Published reports from The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology have shown the detection of CTCs in the blood to successfully predict the disease progression and survival in women with metastatic breast cancer. The CellSearch System will help physicians predict the effectiveness of treatment at any time through its ability to locate one circulating tumor cell in the 40 billion cells contained in a 7.5ml sample of blood.

"The CellSearch System is a great example of exactly the kind of work the CMM was created to perform. We are able to leverage cutting-edge technology for the direct, real-world benefit of patients by helping their physicians make more informed decisions regarding their treatment," said CMM Executive Director Dr. Daniel H. Farkas. "We are very pleased to be one of a select number of facilities in the world offering the test, and look forward to helping the region's medical community put it to good use."

The CellSearch System, which is distributed by Veridex, a Johnson & Johnson company, was cleared by the FDA in January 2004 as an in vitro diagnostic test to aid in the identifying and counting of CTCs in a blood sample. Pricing for the test is $495 and CMM is working with area insurance providers regarding coverage. Physicians interested in obtaining more information may contact CMM directly at 616-391-4330 or visit

About the CMM

The Center for Molecular Medicine, a joint venture between Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spectrum Health and Van Andel Institute (VAI), brings West Michigan a cutting-edge laboratory that will aid in early diagnoses and enhance personalized medicine. It offers 21st century molecular technologies for investigation of complex diseases like cancer, heart disease, mental illness and other conditions at the DNA, RNA and protein levels. The Center brings new and increased opportunities for diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies to conduct trials in a world-class medical and clinical research environment. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Center for Molecular Medicine
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