Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) today announced the launch of its TaqMan® Mutation Detection Assays — highly sensitive and novel molecular analysis research tools with the precision to detect a single mutant molecule hiding in a background of 1 million normal copies.
Developed for clinical researchers to validate and screen for extremely minute levels of mutations in cancer-related genes, the TaqMan® Mutation Detection Assaysare unparalleled in the market showing at least 10-fold greater sensitivity than currently available products.
“Employing TaqMan® Mutation Detection Assays in our work has enabled us to detect cancer-relevant DNA mutations more robustly even within abundant backgrounds of normal material,” said Pierre Puig-Laurent, Ph.D., Professor at Descartes University Medical School in Paris, who is also responsible for the Clinical Oncogenetic Unit in the Department of Genetics at the European Georges Pompidou Hospital Paris, and Director of UMR-S775 INSERM laboratory. “The level of sensitivity that can be achieved with this new technique is superior to classical methods we have tested and lends itself well to clinical research applications, including the initial identification of mutations,” he said.
The assays will also support the development of emerging technologies and future products for detecting circulating tumor cells (CTCs), which scientists in the United Kingdom recently said could help determine aggressiveness levels and potential treatments for the disease, as reported by Reuters last week.
TaqMan® Mutation Detection Assays, available as part of an early release program with a full launch in July,focus on detecting mutations in three human genes associated with colorectal, lung, pancreatic and breast cancer — the most common and deadliest forms of the disease that last year accounted for about 540,000 new cases in the United States alone. The genes — KRAS, BRAF and EGFR – have also been implicated in leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, melanoma and papillary thyroid carcinoma. Life Technologies is planning to expand its portfolio of cancer research assays to cover many other cancer-related genes.
Cancer begins at the genetic level, where elements from the environment — ultraviolet rays, carcinogens, or toxins in the food supply – can cause a series of mutations to specific genes that, when not addressed by the cellular repair mechanism, can lead to uncontrolled cell division, the hallmark of the disease. There were 1.2 million new cases of cancer last year in the U.S., and the 12 most common forms of the disease claimed more than 400,000 Americans in 2010, or about 1,100 per day, according to the National Cancer Institute.
TaqMan® Mutation Detection Assaysare powered by castPCR (competitive allele-specific TaqMan® polymerase chain reaction), a novel technology that utilizes a combination of proprietary assay design as well as chemistry to amplify mutations of interest and suppression factors to silence other DNA molecules in samples. Coupled with Life Technologies’ gold standard TaqMan® brand of molecular probes and primers, the Mutation Detection Assays enable a level of sensitivity and specificity that are unmatched in the industry.
“Cancer researchers can now essentially find that proverbial needle in a haystack,” said Sam Raha, Vice President & General Manager of NextGen qPCR & Content for Life Technologies. “As translational research tools, they could support future drug development and better clinical trial designs for evaluating biomarker-based treatments.”
CastPCR has been optimized for use on standard qPCR instrumentation such as Life Technologies’ ViiA™ 7 Real-Time PCR System. Life Technologies’ new data analysis software tool, which will be available for the full launch in July 2011, coupled with the validated assays and instruments provide a complete workflow solution for cancer researchers.
The ViiA™ 7 Real-Time PCR System and TaqMan® Mutation Detection Assays are for research use only, and not for use in diagnostic procedures.
Life Technologies Corporation