Dana Farber and 454 life sciences announce breakthrough in DNA sequencing for cancer research

BRANFORD, Conn. June 25, 2006 454 Life Sciences Corporation, a majority-owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corporation (Nasdaq: CRGN), in collaboration with scientists at Dana Farber Cancer Center and Broad Institute, today reported a new method for the detection of cancer gene mutations present at extremely low levels. The research, published online (ahead of print) in the journal Nature Medicine, describes how the 454 SequencingTM method identifies rare cancer-associated genetic variations at the molecular level, potentially enabling the personalization of targeted therapies.

454 SequencingTM technology was used to analyze mutations in five exons of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) gene in tumor samples from 22 patients with lung cancer. The EGFR gene is the target for several new anti-cancer drugs called EGFR inhibitors. This research proposes that 454 SequencingTM may help to validate the ability of EGFR mutations to predict patient responsiveness to treatment with an EGFR inhibitor.

It has been realized that genetic mutations are responsible for sensitizing some tumor cells to chemotherapy, while other mutations render tumor cells completely resistant to drug treatments. Historically, research progress has been slowed by the complex mix of cells in a tumor sample, compounded by cost-prohibitive, conventional low-resolution sequencing methods that lack sufficient accuracy to characterize the DNA in cancerous cells. 454 SequencingTM is the first advanced sequencing technology that can generate hundreds of thousands of DNA sequences in one run, rapidly and comprehensively conducting high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, with specific application to sequencing of whole genomes and ultra-deep sequencing of target genes. By enabling a method of sequencing that is more comprehensive and less expensive than conventional sequencing methods, 454 SequencingTM may be us

Contact: Benjamin Carmichael
Noonan/Russo Communications

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