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Celebrities and Cancer: Courage – Strength – Faith

Part 1: The political figures

“In God we trust. All others [must] have data. - Bernard Fisher”

Bernard Fisher was an eminent breast cancer surgeon and researcher who pioneered many innovative techniques in breast cancer.

The latter half of the last century has seen an unprecedented success of cancer treatment – thanks to extensive and innovative biomedical research! We have come a long way since radiation therapy almost a century ago – 1950s saw the first approved chemo regimen - this was followed by a boom in research bucks for expansive cancer research – 1990s actually witnessed a decline in cancer deaths for the first time in history – then at the turn of century we have biologics for cancer therapy that had almost changed the new landscape of cancer treatment. This has been made possible thanks to years and years of dedicated team of scientists and clinicians – nurses and caregivers – patients and advocates who had patiently and painstakingly churned out heaps and heaps of research and data – striving to end the elusive and dreaded plague called cancer – and how!

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Integrated analysis in cancer diagnostics: why miRNA is better than mRNA?

Cancer networks are specific, contextual, dynamic and interactive! The best way to delineate complex cancer networks is to integrate both transcriptomics (mRNA) expression profile as well as miRNA expression profile – this imparts both the functional and regulatory messages in a cancer context.  However, recent spate of miRNA analysis in the elucidation of cancer networks suggests specific and distinct advantages of miRNA profiling over mRNA signatures – both biological and technical.

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miRNA probes for cancer diagnostics – What BioGenex offers?

miRNA biology

microRNAs or miRNAs are small, ~21-24 nucleotides long, specialized, ubiquitously expressed and evolutionary conserved cellular RNAs that have numerous roles in cellular functions ranging from developmental and stem cell to aging, immunity and cancer. First discovered in nematodes, it has been found in almost all classes of organisms wherein they function as part of cellular networks cross-talking with multiple target mRNAs, thus affecting post-transcriptional machinery of the cell. MicroRNAs are precisely regulated (both spatially and temporally) in these cellular functions. Recently, microRNAs have been touted as promising agents in clinical diagnostics and therapeutics especially in the cancer domain.

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Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP)


CUPs (Cancers of unknown Primary) are generally defined as a mixed cluster of metastatic tumors disseminated from unknown sites. It is currently challenging to ascertain the site of origin (tissue) by means of a standardized diagnostic clinical approach. About 3%–5% of all malignancies are considered CUP. Because the origin of malignancy is not known, it becomes challenging to devise a clinically appropriate and successful treatment regimen.

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PD-1 and PD-L1 Antibodies - Immune Checkpoint Biomarkers

As we step into the era of personalized medicine, we need to characterize and validate novel cancer targets precisely – not just for therapeutic purpose but as diagnostic biomarkers. The tumor is no longer just diagnosed by morphology but by immunohistochemistry and other molecular patterns – in a multiplex and high-throughput technology platform. Cancer biomarkers are of different kinds ranging from DNA, RNA, RNAi, and protein. Amongst the protein markers, there are immune molecules (ligands or surface receptors) that are expressed specifically in a cancer context, either in pre-cancerous cells or cancerous cells or in combative immune cells (1).

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IHC Staining in an Independent Assessment - BioGenex International

The Synaptophysin (SYN) gene is located on the short arm of the X chromosome. Mutations in this gene are associated with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR). The SYN gene product is a 38 kD glycoprotein that is localized to the membrane of synaptic vesicles. Using immunohistochemistry, synaptophysin can be identified in a range of neural and neuroendocrine tissues, including neurons of the central nervous system, cells of the adrenal medulla, thyroid and pancreatic islets. As a specific marker for these tissues, it can be used to identify tumors originating from them, such as neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, phaeochromocytoma, carcinoid, small-cell carcinoma, medulloblastoma and medullary thyroid carcinoma.

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Detection & Prevention of Colorectal Cancer - BioGenex US

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States with an estimated 50,000 deaths in 2016. Colonoscopy is the leading CRC screening strategy, and there is strong evidence that the removal of polyps detected by colonoscopy can prevent the development of CRC. However, colonoscopy screenings only provide partial protection due to the limitations of current polyp detection techniques and human factors such as the skill of the endoscopist.  These contribute to diagnostic miss rates of up to 25%. In a new study published in Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers used the BioGenex automated molecular pathology staining system to develop a fluorescence colonoscopy technique that can accurately identify a polyp biomarker (i.e. c-Met) and thus improve polyp detection during colonoscopy screenings.

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Promising Tool for Prognostication - BioGenex US

By Marcos Arribas-Layton, PhD. June 7, 2016

Like many cancers, breast cancers are highly diverse with a range of distinct clinical outcomes. Breast cancers dependent on hormone signaling (ER/PR) or on EGF-receptor (HER2/neu) typically have the most positive prognosis. Tumors lacking these receptors expression, referred to as Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), currently have no targeted therapies available. Five-year survival rates plummet from nearly 99% for localized tumors to 24% in late stage cancers and therefore correct identification of breast cancer subtypes at early stage is critical for treatment effectiveness.

Researchers speculate that miRNAs are potential biomarker candidates for early detection and prognosis prediction, because dysregulation of miRNA has been widely reported in cancers1. Recent studies have tested miRNAs as predictive biomarkers for determining TNBC patient’s prognosis. A four-miRNA signature (miR-16, miR-125b, miR-155 and miR374a) correlated with shorter overall patient survival1. A different panel of four miRNAs (miR-27a, -30e, -155, and -493) could separate TNBC into two distinct subgroups, high risk “core basal” tumors (basal CK5/6-and/or EGFR-positive) compared to lower risk “5 negative” tumors (negative for all five markers; ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6 and EGFR) 1-2. These results may help doctors decide which TNBC patient may require more aggressive treatment.


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FISH automation to Identify Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients - US

May 18, 2016

In a new study, published in Nature’s Blood Cancer Journal, researchers using the Xmatrx FISH automation system identified MCL-1 as a target for therapy in resistant Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). NHL is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system, a part of the immune system, and can spread to various organs including bone marrow, liver and brain. NHL is one of the most common cancers in the United States, accounting for about 4% of all cancers. In 2016 an estimated 73,000 people will be diagnosed with NHL and 20,000 people will die from this cancer in the US. On average, the survival rate for people with NHL (stages I-IV) over five years is 69% and over ten years drops to 59%. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, belly pain, or chest pain while treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem-cell transplant, or medications. Since there is not a standard screening test for non-symptomatic individuals, NHL is often not diagnosed until the later stages, which have less favorable prognosis rates.

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CDX2 to identify Colon Cancer patients - BioGenex US

May 12, 2016

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. In 2016 about 140,000 people will be diagnosed and 50,000 will die from this disease. On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about 5%, however, this varies widely according to individual risk factors. About 72% of cases arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum. In recent years, introduction of a new adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with stage III colon cancer, was very successful and significantly increased disease-free survival in these patients. However, there was no improvement in disease-free survival for patients with earlier-stage (stage I and II) disease due to the lack of simple, reliable criteria for the identification of patients who are at high risk for relapse. Now, a groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that CDX2 antibodies from BioGenex (Clone CDX2-88) can be employed in a new prognostic approach and help save lives of stage II Colon Cancer patients.

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