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Oct 22, 2009

GE and Lilly Develop Prototype to Visualize and Map Cancer Biomarker Networks

  • GE Global Research and Eli Lilly report that they have developed tissue-based biomarker technology that can simultaneously map over 25 proteins in tumors at the subcellular level. This achievement is a result of the companies’ collaboration formed in October 2007.

    GE and Lilly have also decided to expand their research agreement to include the study of four Lilly oncology molecules that are currently in the company’s development pipeline. While the technology is expected to help in the analysis of all cancers, the two companies will perform specific investigations in breast, ovarian, lung, and possibly gastric cancers.

    With this new molecular pathology tool, researchers can now look at a map of the tissue sample to see the cancer cell’s biomarker signaling pathway and the interplay of signaling networks inside the tumor. The technology has thus far been tested successfully on colon and prostate cancer tissue samples.

    GE researchers have built a prototype system capable of staining, washing, and re-staining tissue samples for study under a digital microscope. The system combines image analysis of cancerous cells and structures with GE’s visualization tools to provide a color map of protein concentrations within the sample.

    “Our new mapping technology is designed to bring new therapies to market faster and to make sure that the right patients get the right medicines,” says Mark Little, svp and director, GE Global Research.

    “Additionally, we believe that GE’s technology, advanced as a result of this collaboration, may lead to the ability to identify the stem cells within a tumor that we believe control the cancer,” notes Richard Gaynor, M.D., vp, cancer research and clinical investigation, Lilly Research Laboratories.


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