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Rosetta Genomics Reports Advancement of Collaboration with Biocept for PoC Studies Aimed at microRNA Profiling of Circulating Tumor Cells

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Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (NASDAQ: ROSG), a leading developer and provider of microRNA-based and other molecular diagnostics, and Biocept, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOC), a molecular diagnostics company commercializing and developing blood-based liquid biopsies to improve the detection and treatment of cancer, announce the successful completion of feasibility studies under a previously announced collaboration to evaluate the use of Biocept's patented microfluidic channel technology to extract circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood and Rosetta Genomics' technical expertise and proprietary qRT-PCR platform to characterize microRNAs isolated from those CTCs.

In the next phase of the collaboration, Rosetta and Biocept will test for markers currently offered by Rosetta, as well as pursue new markers. This joint proof-of-concept study will initially seek to determine whether lung cancer CTCs provide microRNA signatures similar to those from tissue biopsy as previously demonstrated by Rosetta through its Philadelphia-based, CLIA laboratory and that are in clinical use today. Biocept's technology allows for the study of tumor cells from a simple blood draw starting with the point-of-diagnosis and continuing throughout treatment. This includes valuable insights when a patient's disease progresses while on therapy due to emerging resistance, thus allowing the clinician to plot the optimal next course of treatment. MicroRNA analysis can provide unique insight into the biomarker profiles of these cells. Combining current and new microRNA profiles through the use of CTC capture could expand the role and utility of microRNA signatures in various solid tumor diseases.

Feasibility studies were conducted using two lung cancer cell lines: A549 and H727. The objectives were to determine whether Biocept's preservatives affect the microRNA profile of tested cell lines and to determine the feasibility of profiling microRNAs using Rosetta's platform in samples containing a small number of cells.

In the first study, Biocept treated two cell lines with two types of preservatives. The cells were then sent to Rosetta for processing on its microarray platform to assess the effects of these preservatives on miRNA expression. The results indicated that the expression of Rosetta's lung cancer microRNA biomarker panel was unaffected.
In the second study, Rosetta used its qRT-PCR platform to profile samples containing a small number of cancer cells (10-200 cells), using a select list of microRNAs based on the first study. The results showed that all tested microRNAs were detected in all samples tested.
"We are excited about advancing this collaboration to proof-of-concept studies and to determine opportunities for next steps in developing advanced diagnostics," noted Kenneth A. Berlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rosetta Genomics. "This could include next-generation versions of certain tests that would use CTCs from blood as ‘liquid biopsies' in place of current invasive approaches to provide clinicians with actionable information to guide patient treatment protocols. With proof-of-concept data, the joint platform could also be of value to strategic partners seeking ways to use liquid biopsies along with microRNA profiling and other downstream modalities, like next-generation sequencing mutational profiles, to predict and monitor responses to therapies."

"Our liquid biopsy approach has advantages over invasive and expensive surgical tissue biopsy procedures and we are encouraged about the potential to expand its use by combining our CTC and Rosetta's microRNA technologies," said Michael W. Nall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Biocept. "Liquid biopsy is particularly important in gaining biomarker information from patients with lung cancer, where patients are often very sick, making the collection of tissue biopsies impractical and often impossible. Our blood-based biopsies also address the limitation of tumor heterogeneity associated with tissue biopsies through the ability to capture a more complete look at the tumor's overall makeup."

 

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