Healthcare Industry News:  Real-Time PCR 

Diagnostics Oncology

 News Release - February 20, 2007

Althea Technologies Announces the Development of a Diagnostic Capable of Differentiating Multiple Forms of Childhood Cancer

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Feb 20, 2007 -- Althea Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of innovative technologies and services for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, announced today the development of a molecular diagnostic capable of clearly differentiating various types of childhood cancers resulting from collaborative efforts between Althea and the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI). A collection of childhood cancers affecting some 3,000 children annually, known as Small Round Blue Cell Tumors (SRBCT), are difficult to characterize using routine laboratory methods. The molecular diagnostic developed at Althea is capable of accurately differentiating the common forms of the disease: neuroblastoma, rhadbomyosarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Ewing's family of tumors. Althea's molecular diagnostic test is described in a recently published paper titled, "Diagnosis of the Small Round Blue Cell Tumors Using Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction," in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics (Vol. 9, No. 1), February 2007.

The diagnostic test was developed under Althea's eXpress Pathway(SM) program. The eXpress Pathway is a groundbreaking discovery and development engine, which applies Althea's gene expression technologies and expertise to harness the power of molecular biomarkers and rapidly produce better therapeutics and diagnostics. The SRBCT diagnostic may provide pathologists with a single and more specific test that can distinguish these cancers. The current standard diagnostic approach involves as many as six immunostaining tests. It is essential to accurately diagnose these cancers because the treatment options, responses to therapy, and prognoses vary widely depending on the type of cancer. Through Althea's ongoing commitment to this often neglected disease area and with continuing collaborations with the NCI and the Children's Oncology Group, additional genes are being considered for inclusion in the diagnostic to enhance the potential for differential diagnosis of other childhood diseases and tumor subtypes.

Co-President and Co-CEO of Althea Technologies, Dr. Francois Ferre, stated, "The SRBCT diagnostic is a great achievement for Althea's eXpress Pathway program, which is dedicated to bringing biomarker development from laboratory to bedside. This test is significant not just for the positive impact it may have in aiding the pathologists and pediatric oncologists treating these patients, but in the demonstration of how effective Althea's eXpress Pathway Program will be in the rapid development of other vital molecular diagnostic products for a broad array of diseases affecting much larger patient populations."

About Althea Technologies, Inc.

Althea Technologies, a leading San Diego-based pharmaceutical services firm, provides critical manufacturing and development services that support researchers worldwide in their advancement of novel therapies and efforts to apply new genomic information. Althea's services include cGMP contract manufacturing of recombinant proteins, DNA-based therapeutics and vaccines, aseptic filling, and gene quantification using Real-Time PCR and gene expression analysis under GLP conditions. Additionally, Althea has introduced new services and technologies for the identification and development of genetic biomarkers with innovative programs such as the company's proprietary eXpress Pathway(SM). For more information, visit

Source: Althea Technologies

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