Asuragen Receives Notice of Patent Allowance for Broad Diagnostic Application of miR-21 in Cancer
Austin, Texas – Date: October 8, 2013 – Asuragen, Inc., a molecular diagnostic company using genomics to drive better patient management, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent Application No. 12/890,398 with claims covering the detection of miR-21 across all cancers and for all sample types.
“Overexpression of miR-21 has been widely associated with cancer in lung, colorectal, prostate and thyroid among others and is a therapeutic target being pursued by a number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies”, commented Rollie Carlson, President and CEO of Asuragen. “This recent patent allowance complements our growing portfolio of issued miRNA patents and provides a foundation to support our development of miR-21-based diagnostic panels and an opportunity to collaborate with external partners.”
miR-21 is over-expressed in almost all solid tumors including breast, colon, esophageal, head and neck, lung, pancreas, prostate, and stomach cancers. It is the only miRNA that is up regulated in nearly all classes of human cancers derived from connective tissues and epithelial, hematopoietic, germ or nervous cells. Further supporting the ubiquitous oncogenic role of mir-21, multiple scientific publications have shown that miR-21 plays an important role in virtually every cellular process involved in tumor development such as proliferation, angiogenesis, replicative immortalization, invasion and metastasis, genome instability and mutation, tumor-promoting inflammation, deregulation of cellular metabolism, evading growth suppressors, immune destruction and cell death.
Small non-coding RNAs known as microRNAs (miRNAs) are promising candidates as therapeutic and diagnostic agents for many different diseases including cancer. Cell culture and animal model studies have shown that the up or down regulation of specific miRNAs can contribute to the development of human malignancies, suggesting that miRNAs can function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. miRNAs regulate the expression of a variety of genes including many oncogenes, tumor suppressors, and regulators of development and cell differentiation. Each miRNA appears to regulate the expression of tens to hundreds of different genes. In many cases, miRNAs regulate the expression of multiple, functionally related genes, making it possible to efficiently regulate the activities of specific cellular pathways and processes.
Asuragen is a molecular diagnostics company with a pioneering position in miRNA using genomics to drive better patient management through best-in-class clinical testing solutions. The Company uses a breadth of technologies and talent to discover, develop and commercialize diagnostic products and clinical testing services with efficiency and flexibility both internally and for our companion diagnostic partners. Today, Asuragen’s products, services and technologies drive countless patient management decisions across oncology, genetic disease and other molecular testing modalities. In the future, we envision the Company’s development of miRNA-based clinical diagnostics will help transform medicine by improving clinical outcomes and health economics. For more information, visit www.asuragen.com.