Hayward, CA — March 4, 2013 — Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Inc. (ACD) announced today that they have entered into an agreement with The Johns Hopkins University on behalf of its Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins to use ACD’s proprietary RNAscope® technology platform to validate novel biomarkers and drug targets for cancer immunotherapy.
Cancer immunotherapy, which aims to mobilize a patient’s immune system to fight cancer, has been gaining momentum recently with the FDA approval of anti-CTLA-4 therapy for melanoma and with the recent impressive and durable remissions produced by targeting PD1 in multiple solid tumors in early-phase clinical trials led by Johns Hopkins investigators. With many additional immune modulatory molecules identified for targeting that play major roles in specific subsets of cancer, it will be critical to develop standardized biomarkers to guide the application of the most effective immune therapies on a patient-by-patient basis.
Targeting the immune checkpoints that are often suppressed in many cancers has demonstrated tremendous potential. However, to identify biomarkers useful for guiding therapy, conventional approaches to biomarker analysis have proven inadequate, leading to conflicting results.
“The complex interplay between cancer cells and the immune system in the tumor microenvironment matches perfectly with RNAscope’s capability of single molecule sensitivity and single cell resolution, which can help pinpoint which cell is talking to which other cell,” said Dr. Yuling Luo, Founder, President and CEO of ACD. Dr. Luo added, “That knowledge will be essential for selecting optimal targets for drug development and predicting which patient will benefit from it. We feel extremely fortunate to be able to provide such a tool to the pioneers in this emerging and exciting field.”
RNAscope technology is the first automated multiplex RNA in situ hybridization platform capable of detecting and quantifying biomarkers with single-molecule se nsitivity. Traditionally, RNA biomarkers are analyzed by “grind-and-bind” assays such as RT-PCR in homogenized tissue, which loses information about cellular context and disease microenvironment that is critical for clinical interpretation. RNAscope provides single-cell gene expression information within the context of intact tissue, enabling both molecular and histopathological analysis on a platform that is compatible with routine clinical specimens and standard clinical laboratory workflow. Unlike IHC antibodies which are available for only a small fraction of the human proteome and not suitable for the emerging class of non-coding RNAs, RNAscope assays can be developed and validated in two weeks for virtually any gene in any genome. Currently, ACD offers RNAscope-based products and services worldwide to scientists in a broad range of research areas from basic research to companion diagnostics for personalized medicine. Customers include world-renowned academic institutions and all major pharmaceutical/biotech companies.
About Advanced Cell Diagnostics
Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Inc. (ACD) is a leader in the emerging field of molecular pathology, developing cell and tissue-based diagnostic tests for personalized medicine. The company’s products and services are based on its proprietary RNAscope® technology, the first automated multiplex chromogenic and fluorescent in situ hybridization platform capable of detecting and quantifying RNA biomarkers in situ at single - molecule sensitivity. RNAscope assays are currently used by hundreds of customers, including all of the global top 10 pharmaceutical companies, world leading academic institutions and many cutting edge biotechnology companies to validate biomarkers for the management of cancer and other diseases. ACD’s industrial partnerships provide the foundation for ACD to develop companion diagnostic tests in conjunction with partners’ targeted therapeutics. ACD also pursues internal programs to develop and commercialize proprietary diagnostic tests in cancer management. Learn more about ACD and RNAscope technology at www.acdbio.com.