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US Oncology, Inc. (USON) And Molecular Profiling Institute Enter Venture To Accelerate The Development Of Personalized Cancer Treatments


8/4/2006 10:47:07 AM

HOUSTON and PHOENIX, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- US Oncology, a leading national cancer treatment and research network, has entered into a venture with the Molecular Profiling Institute, Inc. (Molecular Profiling), a laboratory respected for its genomic and proteomic profiling, to create the Tissue Banking and Analysis Center, Inc. (TBAC).

While continuing to serve a variety of research, pharmaceutical and diagnostic clients, TBAC will handle the large volume of bio-specimen collection and analytical services for US Oncology. TBAC, in collaboration with US Oncology and AmeriPath, one of the largest networks of pathologists engaged in cancer diagnosis, will provide unprecedented access to tissue samples, clinical trial design, biomarker development and esoteric testing under the guidance of top scientists from government and industry.

"We are very excited about this new venture with the Molecular Profiling Institute. The combined talents and expertise in our companies will significantly accelerate the clinical development of targeted therapies for cancer patients," said Dr. Atul Dhir, M.B. B.S., D.Phil., president of the Cancer Information Research Group for US Oncology and board member of TBAC. "This venture will fill a huge unmet need in cancer drug development and over time, it will enable more personalized therapies and enable better treatment accuracy and outcomes for cancer patients across the nation."

The development of TBAC's large centralized tissue bank and analysis services allows for the rapid standardized collection and analysis of a large repository of data, bio-specimens and clinical information that helps researchers improve the design of future cancer research studies and allow the selection of specific trial participants based on their molecular profile. Fewer patients may be required to adequately test the efficacy of new therapies and the result should be an acceleration of the research necessary to make personalized therapies a reality.

"As TBAC combines our first rate scientific knowledge, standardization, and efficiency of molecular analysis with the volume of patients and clinical trials conducted by the experienced research physicians affiliated with US Oncology, this new entity will actually speed the application of breakthrough science in a 'real world' treatment setting," says Dr. Robert Penny, chairman and CEO of Molecular Profiling.

The affiliated physicians and practices in the US Oncology Network provide care to more than 500,000 patients annually and accrue more than 3,000 patients to clinical trials each year. The volume of patients, research infrastructure, and the rigorous patient consent processes of the research network ensures that TBAC will have access to a large pool of suitable patient data.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, clinical director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), who also plays an instrumental role developing TBAC, said, "The tools exist to target the treatment approach that works best for the genetic makeup of individual patient tumors, but those tools aren't currently available in many community care settings. Nor do individual academic medical centers have the volume of patients of a national network like US Oncology. This is a relationship that benefits both sides of the equation -- enabling more personalized oncology treatment. This is the kind of approach that may lead to the identification of specific therapeutic fits for the most aggressive kind of cancers."

By pooling resources and information to combat cancer, TBAC also supports the US Food and Drug Administration's Critical Path Initiative. Critical Path is expected to streamline drug development using the latest genetic and information technologies to analyze treatments much more quickly than the current time-consuming measurements used in standard clinical trials.

About The Tissue Banking and Analysis Center ("TBAC")

TBAC standardizes and manages bio-specimen collection and analysis for more effective clinical trials. Jointly owned by US Oncology and the Molecular Profiling Institute, it leverages US Oncology's research network and utilizes the CLIA- certified reference laboratories at the Molecular Profiling Institute and AmeriPath to provide a comprehensive resource for bio-specimen procurement, storage, tracking, analysis re-shipment, and reporting for research institutes, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies and medical centers.

About Molecular Profiling Institute

Molecular Profiling is a CLIA-certified specialty reference laboratory that helps cancer patients worldwide by applying the discoveries of the human genome project to personalized medicine. Molecular Profiling provides cutting-edge testing facilities, products, and resources for genomic and proteomic profiling and treatment of cancers and pharmaceutical services to identify populations that may respond to targeted therapies. Molecular Profiling leverages strategic relationships with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the International Genomics and AmeriPath. For more information, visit http://www.molecularprofiling.com .

About US Oncology

US Oncology is one of the nation's largest healthcare services networks focused on cancer treatment and research. US Oncology provides extensive services and support to its affiliated cancer care sites nationwide to help them expand their offering of the most advanced treatments, build integrated community-based cancer care centers, improve their therapeutic drug management programs, and participate in many of the new cancer-related clinical research studies. US Oncology is affiliated with 994 physicians operating in 494 locations, including 97 radiation oncology facilities in 33 states. For more information, visit http://www.usoncology.com .

About the US Oncology Research Network

The US Oncology Research Network is an established community-based research operation specializing in all phases of cancer clinical trials. The research network currently has more than 520 physicians actively enrolling patients, 88 research sites, and is currently involved in 62 open research trials. The network has contributed to the development of 23 of 29 of the latest cancer-fighting drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use. Since 1993, nearly 30,000 patients have participated in clinical trials managed by US Oncology network practices. For more information, visit the "Research" section under "Our Services" on the company's Web site, http://www.usoncology.com .

US Oncology

CONTACT: Kimberly Rutherford, Corporate Communications of US Oncology,+1-832-601-6193, or Kimberly.Rutherford@usoncology.com ; or Dr. RobertPenny, Chairman & CEO of Molecular Profiling Institute, Inc.,+1-602-358-8902, or RPenny@molecularprofiling.com


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