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Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (BIO)'s Droplet Digital™ PCR Improves Detection Sensitivity of Telomerase Activity Assay


4/10/2013 1:13:04 PM

Washington D.C. — April 9, 2013 — New research shows that Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR™) technology can dramatically improve the sensitivity, precision, and throughput of a popular assay for telomerase activity, according to a presentation today at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. are using Bio-Rad’s ddPCR technology with intercalating dye chemistry to provide absolute quantification of telomerase activity.

Telomeres, the protective structures at the ends of chromosomes, naturally degrade with each cell division. Once they are below a critical length, the cells arrest and become senescent before dying or passing through crisis, incurring additional genomic mutations, and becoming immortalized cancer cells.

One of the mechanisms of immortality is the activation of the telomerase enzyme. This enzyme adds a specific sequence of nucleotide repeats to telomeres, thus rewinding the clock and enabling a cell to divide continuously. Researchers are investigating telomerase activity as a biomarker for cancer diagnosis and as a target for anticancer drugs. Measuring telomerase activity more sensitively may enhance our understanding of its role in oncogenesis and other cellular and physiological phenotypes.

ddPCR Technology Enhances the Telomerase Activity Assay

Traditionally, the telomerase repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay measures the presence of active telomerase by measuring the activity of the enzyme on a starting DNA template, which is then amplified by PCR. For samples with abundant telomerase activity, SYBR® Green qPCR assays deliver high throughput and sufficient sensitivity. However, the most sensitive detection method still requires radioactive labeling, laborious polyacrylamide sequencing gels, and densitometry.

In the cited study, single-molecule counting of telomerase-extended templates was accomplished by partitioning the sample into droplets followed by PCR amplification and detection by fluorescence droplet reading using Bio-Rad’s ddPCR technology. The study results indicate that ddPCR is significantly more sensitive than traditional TRAP radiography and is also more amenable to high-throughput analysis.

“This new (ddPCR TRAP) telomerase activity assay demonstrates the ability to quantify telomerase enzymatic activity in droplets,” said George Karlin-Neumann, director of scientific affairs at Bio-Rad’s Digital Biology Center. “The sensitivity of ddPCR technology enables the measurement of telomerase activity in samples below the detection limit of traditional radiographic methods, while also providing a quick and facile method of measurement in cells where telomerase is more highly expressed.”

About Bio-Rad

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) has been at the center of scientific discovery for more than 60 years, manufacturing and distributing a broad range of products for the life science research and clinical diagnostic markets. The company is renowned worldwide among hospitals, universities, major research institutions, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies for its commitment to quality and customer service. Founded in 1952, Bio-Rad is headquartered in Hercules, California, and serves more than 100,000 research and industry customers worldwide through its global network of operations. The company employs over 7,300 people globally and had revenues exceeding $2 billion in 2012. For more information, visit www.bio-rad.com.

This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as, “believe,” “expect,” “may,” “will,” “intend,” “estimate,” “continue,” or similar expressions or the negative of those terms or expressions. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by the forward-looking statements. For further information regarding the Company's risks and uncertainties, please refer to the “Risk Factors” in the Company’s public reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The Company cautions you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect an analysis only and speak only as of the date hereof. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

For more information contact:

Richard Kurtz

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.

510-741-5638

richard_kurtz@bio-rad.com

Ken Li

Chempetitive Group

312-997-2436 x 112

kli@chempetitive.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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