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Rosetta Columbia University Medical Center to develop microRNA-based diagnostics for leukemia and non hodgkin lymphoma.

Rosetta Genomics, Ltd. (Rehovot, Israel) and Columbia University Medical Center (New York, NY) will collaborate to develop microRNA-based diagnostic tests, early detection as well as prognosis, for Diffuse Large Cell Lymphoma, Transformed Follicular Lymphoma, and for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Three types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

"We are constantly expanding our pipeline with new diagnostic and therapeutic programs, both cancer and non-cancer related, in order to maximize our leading position in microRNA intellectual property and proprietary technologies," noted Amir Avniel, President and CEO of Rosetta Genomics. "We are very excited to be collaborating with a leading research institution such as Columbia University Medical Center, and hope more collaboration will follow."

Combining Rosetta Genomics know-how and proprietary technologies with Columbia University Medical Center's expertise in cancer, researchers will screen for microRNAs that may be used as potential biomarkers and drug targets for these NHL indications.

Diffuse Large Cell Lymphoma (DLCL) and Transformed Follicular Lymphoma are the two most common types of NHL, accounting for approximately 45 percent of all new non NHL cases. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. It then invades the blood and can spread to other parts of the body, including the spleen. According to the American Cancer Society, in the US alone approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with these types of cancers in 2007.

"40 percent of DLCL patients respond well to current therapies and have prolonged survival, whereas the remainder succumb to the disease, and we do not know why," said Dalia Cohen, Global Head of R&D at Rosetta Genomics. "We believe our technology will help answer this question, as well as speed up and simplify the diagnostic process."

"MicroRNAs perform their regulatory function on key cellular processes further up-stream than other currently used biomarkers," explained Dr. Riccardo Dalla-Favera, professor of Pathology, director of the Institute for Cancer Genetics and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center. "This is most likely the reason why they are proving to be such good biomarkers. The technologies developed through our collaboration with Rosetta Genomics are very sensitive. Our hope is that by working together, we can continue to take important steps toward better diagnostic tests for cancer patients."

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are recently discovered, naturally occurring small RNAs that act as master regulators and have the potential to form the basis for a new class of diagnostics and therapeutics. Since many diseases are caused by the abnormal activity of proteins, the ability to selectively regulate protein activity through microRNAs could provide the means to treat a wide range of human diseases. In addition, microRNAs have been shown to have different expression levels in certain diseased versus normal tissues. As a result, these differences potentially provide for a novel diagnostic strategy for many diseases. MicroRNAs are thought to play a key role in the differentiation of cells into specific cell types performing various functions in the body.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions.

Rosetta is a leader in the development of microRNA-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Founded in 2000, the company's integrative research platform combining bioinformatics and state-of-the-art laboratory processes has led to the discovery of hundreds of biologically validated novel human microRNAs. Building on its strong IP position and strategic alliances with leading biotechnology companies, Rosetta Genomics is working to develop a full range of diagnostic and therapeutic products based on microRNAs. The company's primary focus is in the development of microRNA-based products to diagnose and treat different forms of cancer and infectious diseases.

American Cancer Society

www.cancer.org

Rosetta Genomics, Ltd.

+1-646-509-1893,

www.rosettagenomics.com

Columbia University Medical Center

www.cumc.columbia.edu
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Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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