A range of new technologies and products made their debut at the AACR annual meeting in April, each designed to make cancer research faster, easier, and more biologically and clinically relevant. With an emphasis on automation, genetic and epigenetic analysis, and in vivo cell, tissue, and live-animal imaging, the new technologies on display target key bottlenecks in the drug discovery pipeline.
Compact and easy to use, the new Moxi Z mini automated cell counter from Orflo combines the Coulter Principle (change in impedance) with a thin-film sensor technology to perform particle sizing (range 2–34 microns) and counting and viability reporting of a 75 µL sample in 8 seconds, for a cost of about $1.50/test.
Later this month, Sigma-Aldrich plans to introduce a genetically modified breast cancer model cell line as part of its family of oncology cell lines developed with the CompoZr® Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) technology. The first oncology products introduced were colorectal and lung cancer models. The technology allows for the introduction of targeted, heritable changes to create either knock-out disease models or knock-in models in which a specific mutation is created in a gene that remains under the control of its endogenous promoter.
In the third quarter, Randox expects to launch the QuantiPlasma Array system for biomarker discovery. Designed for analyzing proteome dynamics in plasma samples from normal and disease populations, QuantiPlasma Array kits each contain 300 monoclonal antibodies spotted across 18 biochips. The Biochip Array Technology allows for simultaneous testing of all 300 antibodies in less than 3 hours using as little as 5 µL of sample, the firm reported.
A poster presented at AACR by NanoInk described the development of a nano-scale sandwich ELISA assay platform using the company’s dip-pen nanolithography (DPN™) technology. These protein nanoarray assays can reportedly achieve sensitivity in the hundreds of femtograms per milliliter range and detect biomarkers in as little as 2–4 µL of sample.
Olink Bioscience launched the Proseek® homogeneous, real-time PCR-based assay, capable of protein quantification in a 1 µL plasma or serum sample.
Cerulean Pharma outlined plans for a Phase II clinical trial in 140 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) of its tumor-targeted nanopharmaceutical CRLX101, composed of camptothecin-containing nanoparticles.
At AACR, Cerulean and its collaborators presented data from an ongoing 36-patient Phase IIa expansion study of CRLX101 to evaluate the biological activity and tolerability of the drug in patients with solid tumors who had failed standard therapy. Multiple patients with advanced NSCLC who have been treated with the drug during the Phase IIa trial have had stable disease for longer than six months. The size and surface properties of the nanoparticle carrier target the drug to the tumor, where the complex takes advantage of the leaky neovasculature to penetrate the tumor, where the drug is released from the nanoparticles, which break down and are excreted from the body.