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Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (RHHBF.PK) Collaborates with Merck Sharp & Dohme (MRK) on Developmental Test for Cancer-Related Gene Mutation Investigational AmpliChip p53 Test Designed to Screen for Genetic Mutation Tied to Therapeutic Resistance in Cancer Patients

2/17/2010 10:21:57 AM

PLEASANTON, Calif., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today a research collaboration with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.) providing Merck access to Roche's developmental microarray-based AmpliChip p53 Test, which is designed to detect mutations in the tumor suppressor gene p53. By identifying cancers that harbor a dysfunctional p53 gene, the companies aim to achieve better treatment outcomes in cancer patients by determining which patients are most likely to respond to certain investigational therapeutic candidates.

The p53 protein is a critical component of normal cell response to various stress types including damaged genetic material or DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The p53 protein functions by activating DNA repair proteins, inducing growth arrest for repair of DNA damage, and by initiating apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the case of irreparable DNA damage. When p53 function is deficient, a cell's response to DNA damage is severely impaired, contributing to tumor growth and increasing tumor cells' resistance to chemotherapy. Roche's investigational AmpliChip p53 Test is designed to detect damage to p53 DNA in tumor cells in order to identify which cells carry dysfunctional p53 proteins that can lead to treatment resistance.

About Roche AmpliChip Technology

Roche AmpliChip technology combines two leading-edge DNA amplification and detection technologies to screen for genetic mutations in cells. The Roche polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to amplify or make copies of genetic material, and Affymetrix high-density microarray technology is used to capture and scan the amplified DNA. The combination of these two technologies in AmpliChip is intended to enable physicians and laboratories to determine when mutations are present and to predict the effect those mutations could have on patients' response to medical treatment.

ROCHE and AMPLICHIP are trademarks of Roche. AFFYMETRIX is a trademark of Affymetrix, Inc. .

CONTACT: Karin Bauer of Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., +1-925-353-8271,

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