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Features Health & Wellness Breast cancer genetic subtyping licensed for development

Technology developed by UNC cancer center may lead to diagnostic test

Technology originally developed by UNC genetics professor and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member Chuck Perou, Ph.D., and colleagues has been licensed to NanoString Technologies of Seattle, Wash.

The gene signature, known as “PAM50,” has been shown in multiple research studies and peer-reviewed publications to provide a consistent and valid classification of breast cancers into distinct subtypes.

Perou, a pioneer in the molecular classification of breast cancer, collaborated with a team of colleagues from Washington University in St. Louis, M.O., the University of Utah, and the BC Cancer Agency (Canada) for a decade to develop a methodology to measure the expression patterns within this 50 gene signature and classify breast cancer into distinct subtypes with the potential to guide doctors in recommending therapies tailored to each patient’s type of disease.

The team’s company, Bioclassifier, LLC, licensed the technology to NanoString, which intends to develop a diagnostic test for clinical use.

“We had a goal to translate our decade of work on the intrinsic subtypes into a distributed test that could help breast cancer patients across the globe,” said Perou. “NanoString has the technology to take these discoveries from the lab to the patient in a practical way.”

Additional work to validate potential diagnostic tests and approval by the appropriate regulatory agencies must be completed before any test is made available for general use.

“Dr. Perou is internationally recognized for his impact on the molecular classification of human cancer. His work has changed the way we think about breast cancer, its subsets and its treatment. We are pleased that he and his colleagues have identified a platform that will soon allow their work to reach thousands of breast cancer patients yearly,” said Shelley Earp, MD, Director of UNC Lineberger.





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