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Johnson and Johnson Invests In Blood Test to Detect Cancer Working With Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital

Posted Jan 03 2011 2:26am

Dr. Daniel Haber, chief of Massachusetts General Hospital’s cancer center is the inventor of the blood test process and the hospital will be working with Johnson image and Johnson companies Veridex, LLC, and Ortho Biotech Oncology R&D.  There have been specific blood tests such as the one noted below for specific cancers so if this system and test could find cancer cells throughout, this is huge step forward. 

Some of the funding for this research has come from grants from Stand Up to Cancer.  The test uses a microchip.  Sloan-Kettering, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston will start using the test this year as well.  BD 

Boston researchers plan to announce today that they are partnering with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to develop and bring to image market a sophisticated, noninvasive test that can detect tiny traces of cancer cells in a blood sample.

The partnership — a five-year, roughly $30 million deal — is aimed at refining and commercializing a next-generation test that could allow physicians to better target cancer-treatment regimens and monitor patients’ response to drugs

By detecting cancer cells through a blood test, doctors could better follow the disease’s course — looking to see whether the level of cancer cells circulating drops with treatment. It would also allow doctors to test the genetics of the cancer cells, considered by doctors to be critical because many cancer drugs are targeted treatments that work against a cancer with a particular mutation.

Now, Mass. General researchers will work together with Veridex, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company, and Ortho Biotech Oncology R&D, a unit of the pharmaceutical giant, drawing on their expertise in areas such as clearing regulatory hurdles and clinically validating new tests. Haber said that it is roughly a $30 million deal, depending in part on achieving intermediate milestones and successes.

Already, the Boston researchers have developed a prototype and they, along with four other research institutions, have received a $15 million grant from the organization Stand Up to Cancer to test the prototype. But that technology is expensive and complicated to use, with each chip costing about $500.

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