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Center for Molecular Medicine Among First Labs in Nation to Offer Groundbreaking Test to Aid in Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

12/12/2007 10:13:09 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) today announced it is one of the first laboratories in the nation to offer a new test to help guide the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC; also called stage IV or "advanced").

The CMM ( is offering the CellSearch(TM) System from Veridex ( to physicians as a vital new tool in managing patients with metastatic CRC.

Recently approved by the FDA for the monitoring of CRC, the CellSearch System identifies and counts circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in a blood sample to predict progression-free and overall-survival in patients, and can do so earlier than the current standard of care.

Testing for CTCs with the CellSearch System, in conjunction with other clinical methods for monitoring, can help physicians assess disease progression, thereby guiding more informed care decisions earlier. The CMM began providing FDA-approved CellSearch testing services for metastatic breast cancer patients earlier this year.

The CellSearch System is the first diagnostic test to automatically identify and count CTCs, cancer cells that detach from solid tumors and enter the bloodstream. The system's specificity, sensitivity and reproducibility allow assessment of CTCs as early as the first cycle of treatment to help evaluate disease progression sooner.

According to the American Cancer Society, CRC claims approximately 55,000 lives annually, the vast majority of which are a result of recurrent metastatic disease. Metastatic CRC occurs when tumor cells spread to other locations in the body and grow. Although there are several options for the treatment of metastatic CRC, oncologists often have to wait months before they can determine if a specific treatment has been beneficial to the patient.

"We are very pleased to be able to add CellSearch colorectal cancer testing to our growing menu of cutting-edge diagnostic services available to physicians. The CellSearch cancer tests represent an important advance in how breast and colorectal cancer can be detected and managed over the long term," said CMM Executive Director Dr. Daniel H. Farkas. "It's an important new capability for the region's medical community, and another significant step forward in the growth of the CMM as a unique resource in the rapidly expanding field of molecular medicine."

The CellSearch System, which is distributed by Veridex, a Johnson & Johnson company, was cleared by the FDA in January 2004 as an in vitro diagnostic test to aid in the identifying and counting of CTCs in a blood sample. Pricing for the test is $495 and CMM is working with area insurance providers regarding coverage. Physicians interested in obtaining more information may contact CMM directly at 616-391-4330 or visit

About the CMM

The Center for Molecular Medicine, a joint venture between Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spectrum Health and Van Andel Institute (VAI), brings West Michigan a cutting-edge laboratory that will aid in early diagnoses and enhance personalized medicine. It offers 21st century molecular technologies for investigation of complex diseases like cancer, heart disease, mental illness and other conditions at the DNA, RNA and protein levels. The Center brings new and increased opportunities for diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies to conduct trials in a world-class medical and clinical research environment. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Don Hunt,, or Rebecca Howe, both of
Lambert, Edwards & Associates, +1-616-233-0500

Web site:

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