SINGAPORE and Santa Monica, Calif., Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at the St. Johns Health Center, Providence Health Systems in Santa Monica California and Singapore-based Clearbridge BioMedics today announced a research partnership to establish a Circulating Tumor Cell Center of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE). This new center builds upon JWCI's pioneering experience in CTC assessment in patients and Clearbridge BioMedics' expertise in isolating CTCs. Targeted to be set up by November 2016, the initial focus of the CTC CoRE is on melanoma, followed by epithelial cancers. JWCI envision that in the future, the center will evolve into a CLIA service for testing blood biopsy samples, with the objective of supporting diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and developing personalized therapies.
This CTC CoRE leverages on JWCI's molecular CTC assay development expertise from rare cells and Clearbridge Biomedics' ClearCell® FX System for unbiased, label-free enrichment of CTCs. The research carried out at the CTC CoRE aims to use defined tumor-related DNA and RNA biomarkers established at JWCI to assess patient status before and after therapy, for example, at the time of tumor resection, before and after use of specific therapeutic drugs, or for general follow-up. This may aid clinicians to monitor tumor progression and patients' response to treatment.
Work carried out at this new CTC CoRE is expected to lead to validation of several assays for use under JWCI's future CLIA program, beginning with melanoma, and followed by epithelial solid tumor cancers. This is expected to eventually result in better decision-making and significant cost savings. The program allows for unbiased and label-free isolation of CTCs in a robust and reproducible manner compatible with multiple types of downstream assays used for clinical oncology translational studies.
The ClearCell® FX System is one of the world's first automated CTC retrieval systems, powered by the patented CTChip® FR1 inertial microfluidics biochip. Using a label-free approach, the ClearCell® FX System retrieves wholly-intact and viable CTCs from a standard blood draw. The ClearCell® FX System provides cost-effective retrieval of CTCs proven to work with applications used in research and the clinic, such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), PCR, Fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) and Immunofluorescence staining.
"This partnership is an expansion of our long-standing collaboration with Clearbridge BioMedics. We originally began working with them in 2011, to validate the ClearCell® FX System, and we are delighted to be setting up a new CTC Core with Clearbridge BioMedics to advance the development of our assays. We hope to be able to transform this center into a CLIA service in early 2018" said Professor Dave SB Hoon, Director, Dept. Translational Molecular Medicine, JWCI.
"We are honored to partner with JWCI, a leading research and treatment cancer institute. This is the second CTC CoRE that Clearbridge BioMedics has set up the first being with the National Cancer Centre Singapore and Singapore General Hospital in 2014. Clearbridge BioMedics will continue working towards validation of clinical utility of our ClearCell® FX System, to help oncologists have access to better tools to diagnose, treat and manage cancer," said Dr Michael Paumen, CEO Clearbridge BioMedics.
About JWCI at St. Johns Health Center, Providence Health Systems, Santa Monica, CA, USA
In 1991, the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) launched a successful affiliation with Saint John's Health Center and opened in Santa Monica, Ca. Combined with the exceptional quality of Saint John's medical staff and hospital, a unique cancer institute was created, outstanding in the areas of translational oncology research, innovative surgery oncology approaches and medical immune-oncology. JWCI is one of three cancer centers of the Providence Health Systems on the west coast of the USA consisting of 50 hospitals from Alaska to Southern California.
With renowned researchers and advanced technologies, JWCI has the unique ability to quickly and effectively react, explore, and investigate life-saving cancer treatments. Developed at the Institute, the Sentinel Node Biopsy is one such treatment. Now considered the worldwide standard of care for melanoma and breast cancer, the Sentinel Node Biopsy has revolutionized treatment options by offering a minimally invasive technique to determine the spread of tumor cells. JWCI has a strong global oncology program through its multicentre trials and collaborations with many outstanding cancer centers in the world.
About Clearbridge BioMedicsPte. Ltd, Singapore
Clearbridge BioMedics Pte Ltd. is a clinical stage cancer diagnostics company that develops and manufactures liquid biopsy systems. The Company is based in Singapore and has commercially launched the ClearCell Fx platform sales to clinical research centers around the globe. The Company has won numerous awards and garnered global recognition for its novel Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) detection platform technology, the ClearCell® FX System. Clearbridge BioMedics has received ISO 13485 certification in 2011 and the ClearCell® FX attained CE IVD in 2015.
ClearCell® FX System and its biochip are utilizing state-of-the-art, non-invasive liquid biopsy to analyze blood samples for circulating tumor cells (CTCs), the device allows for real time analysis of disease before, during, and after treatment, which has become increasingly critical in the new era of targeted cancer therapies. www.clearbridgebiomedics.com
 In accordance with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA), the CLIA Program sets standards and issues certificates for clinical laboratory testing.
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SOURCE Clearbridge BioMedics