Tag Archives: Biodesign Institute

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute, started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer.

ASU researchers find potential clues to ovarian cancer

Arizona State University researchers said they have identified three promising biological signals that could help detect ovarian cancer before patients display any symptoms.

Researchers from the Biodesign Institute said identifying the biomarkers – a type of blood-born signal – is another step toward early detection.

ASU’s new study is the first use of high density microarray technology that uses a sample of the patient’s blood to identify biomarkers for ovarian cancer, researchers said.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Doctors generally don’t diagnose the cancer until it’s in the advanced stages, and only 15 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early, according to the alliance.

In the U.S., ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer “with over 15,000 deaths per year,” said Dr. Kristina Butler, a gynecological oncology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

“Ovarian cancer is often detected late in its course, and by the time it is detected, it is too late to really have a big impact,” said Dr. Josh LaBaer, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Researchers said the biomarkers can combat that late detection.

Biomarkers are autoantibodies, a type of protein produced by the immune system. These autoantibodies don’t cause the disease. Rather, they act as an early warning system that abnormal proteins produced by cancer are present in the body.

Physicians already use biomarkers to diagnose other diseases. For example, cholesterol tests are biomarkers for heart disease, and blood pressure can indicate hypertension.

The institute, which focuses its research on finding natural solutions to address global challenges in health care, also is researching biomarkers in other cancers, including breast cancer.

Karen Anderson, a researcher at the institute, and LaBaer started out with about 10,000 possible biomarkers for ovarian cancer and after about 10 years of research, they narrowed it down to about a dozen biomarkers.

The institute used the microarray technology to identify three of these autoantibodies as promising biomarker candidates in the new study.

“Now it is time to come up with more serious validation studies to figure out how to put them together in a panel to get a better test,” LaBear said.

Some of the biomarkers discovered by ASU are in the clinical studies phase, and researchers must validate and vet the findings in national studies, Anderson said.

The current tests used for screening for other types of cancer ¬– like mammograms or colonoscopy – are great tools, but they are expensive.

“If we use that as a benchmark for what these tests usually cost,” blood tests can be more cost effective, Anderson said.

Diagnostic tests similar to what the researchers are trying to develop are relatively inexpensive, Anderson said. The molecular test for colon cancer only runs in the several hundred-dollar range.

research

Clinical trials change Arizona’s bioscience, business sectors

Last November, Arizona voters resoundingly passed Prop. 303 making it legal in Arizona for companies and physicians to provide terminally ill patients the “right to try” investigational drugs or therapies outside an FDA approved clinical trial.    While it sounded good in the short description provided to voters, in reality, it is unlikely to provide the outcomes one might expect since the manufacturers, physicians, pharmacists, and hospitals are required to follow the federal processes that govern these investigational treatments.  Proposition 303 did not change that.

What Are Clinical Trials?

The clinical trials process is an important step in the discovery, development and delivery pathway that leads to new life saving and live enhancing innovations.  Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for patients. These studies also may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision making and the studies follow strict scientific standards. These standards protect patients and help produce reliable study results.

Today, in Arizona, there are 1,380 ongoing clinical trials according to ClincialTrials.gov which is the national database provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  These studies cover a wide range of therapies and conditions.  Through the dedicated work of innovators, healthcare professionals, and patients, we are learning more about the safety and effectiveness of future treatments.

ClinicalTrials.gov  is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world and currently lists 187,600 studies with locations in all 50 states and in 189 countries.

How can we speed the path to innovation and give more patients access to life changing innovations?

On April 29th, members of Arizona’s life science industry and members of the community at large will gather the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for the 2015 AZBio Expo which will focus on clinical trials in Arizona. Event details and ticket information for the 2015 AZBio Expo on April 29, 2015 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown are available at AZBioExpo.com.

Thanks to the support of leaders in Arizona’s life science community, practicing physicians, patients, and caregivers are invited to register for the full day conference free of charge with discount code “AZBusiness.”

The program is designed to provide an update on what Arizona’s clinical trial landscape looks like today and what is could grow to be in the future.  The program includes:

• An Introduction to The Clinical Trials Process by Mark Slater, PhD, Vice President, Research at HonorHealth Research Institute

• A keynote presentation by Matthew Huentelman, PhD, Associate Professor, Neurogenomics Division and Head of the Neurobehavioral Research Unit at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)

• A keynote presentation by Glen Weiss, MD, MBA, Director of Clinical Research & Medical Oncologist, Western Regional Medical Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

• A View of Arizona’s Clinical Trials Landscape by Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association and Chairman of the AdvaMed State Medical Technology Alliance in Washington, DC.

• A Discussion on Funding Clinical Trials led by Joan Koerber-Walker with Terry Urbine, PhD of the  UA College of Pharmacy, Jeremy Shefner, MD, PhD of the Barrow Neurological Institute, and Teresa Bartels from Gateway for Cancer Research.

• A Discussion on Engaging Patients in the Process led by Greg Vigdor, President & CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association with  Brian Browne of Banner Research, Barbara Kavanaugh of the Arizona Myeloma Network, and Marcia K. Horn of the International Cancer Advocacy Network

• A Discussion on Growing Arizona’s Clinical Trials Base led by Nazneen Aziz, PhD,  Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President, Phoenix Children’s Hospital with  Joan Rankin Shapiro, PhD of the UA College of Medicine Phoenix), and Linda Vocila, BSN, RN of TD2.

• Rapid Fire Presentations featuring Arizona companies with active clinical trials here in Arizona and around the world including:  Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,  Capstone Therapeutics,  the Center For Sustainable Health at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University,  Cord Blood Registry,  Insys Therapeutics, Inc., and  NuvOx Pharma.

By focusing on clinical trials together, we can help find answers for the people who matter most, the patients.

Ryan Abbott promoted to Sundt business development manager

 

Ryan Abbott, Sundt Construction

Ryan Abbott, Sundt Construction

Sundt Construction, Inc., recently promoted Ryan Abbott to Southwest business development manager. Abbott previously served as the general contractor’s science and technology group leader.

In his new role, Abbott is responsible for managing the design-build, construction manager at-risk and public/private partnership pursuits for Sundt throughout the Southwest.

Abbott began his career at Sundt more than 13 years ago as a field engineer, working his way through every level of project management, from the design phase through completion. He’s played a key role on many notable Sundt projects, including the $112 million Arizona State University (ASU)Interdisciplinary Science & Technology Building 4 in Tempe,; the $87 million Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona; and the $109 million Biodesign Institute (Buildings A and B) at ASU in Tempe.

A national lecturer and educator on alternative project delivery methods, Abbott has had his work published both locally and nationally in many industry-leading periodicals. He was named one of the 2012 Building Design + Construction 40 Under 40 and the 2011 Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 20 under 40 awards for his extensive professional accomplishments and active role in the industry and community.

Abbott holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from ASU, where he remains active as an ASU Alumni Association board member and a National Alumni Council member. He currently serves as vice chair of the American Institute of Architects/Association of General Contractors Joint Committee.

bioscience

ASU’s Arntzen Named Bioscience Researcher of the Year

image003Charles J. Arntzen, PhD, the founding director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been named the 2014 Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year. The award is given annually to the life science researcher in Arizona who has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and the understanding of biological processes.

“Charlie was instrumental in helping create an experimental drug called ZMapp that was recently used to treat U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola this summer,” says Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “His work has put Arizona on the map in new ways as people all over the world are fascinated by the idea that it is possible to produce medicine inside a plant.”

“Charlie’s work represents some of the best and brightest of Biodesign,” says Raymond DuBois, executive director of the Biodesign Institute. “By erasing traditional boundaries between the sciences, we are able to deliver unexpected solutions.”

Arntzen’s primary research interests are in plant molecular biology and protein engineering, as well as the utilization of plant biotechnology for enhancement of food quality and value, and for overcoming health and agricultural constraints in the developing world. He has been recognized as a pioneer in the development of plant-based vaccines for human disease prevention, with special emphasis on needs of poor countries, and for disease prevention in animal agriculture. His work developed the technology by which human proteins (such as ZMapp) can be expressed in and harvested from plants.

Arntzen is the Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Endowed Chair and Regents’ Professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences. He serves on the board of directors of Advanced BioNutrition and is on the advisory board of the Burrill and Company’s Agbio Capital Fund and the Nutraceuticals Fund.

Prior to coming to ASU in 2000, Arntzen was president and CEO of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. He also served on President George W. Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and the National Nanotechnology Oversight Board.

Arntzen will be honored at the AZBio Awards Gala on Sept. 17 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across Arizona illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of the state’s bioscience industry.

Past winners of the Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year Award include: Leslie Boyer, MD (The University of Arizona), Paul Keim, PhD (Northern Arizona University and TGen-North), Jessica Langbaum, PhD (Banner Alzheimer’s Research Institute), Milton Sommerfeld, PhD, and Qiang Hu, PhD (Arizona State University), Bruce Rittman, PhD (Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University), Rod Wing, PhD (Arizona Genomics Institute at the University of Arizona), and Roy Curtiss, III, PhD (Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University).

AZBio Pioneer Honoree Roy Curtiss, III, Ph.D. of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Photo Courtesy of ASU.

AZBio honors ASU scientist Curtiss

Roy Curtiss, III, Ph.D., of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Arizona Bioindustry Association.

“During his career, Roy Curtiss has had a profound impact on microbiology research and been a true pioneer in developing salmonella-based vaccines that are effective against a range of infectious diseases, which are still the leading cause of worldwide death,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of AZBio. “His contributions since being recruited to Arizona a decade ago have continued unabated, and he is now on the cusp of bringing his remarkable discoveries to the marketplace.”

“Roy’s lifelong dedication and achievements in bioscience research, education and innovation are really quite remarkable, and his efforts have inspired countless life science careers,” said Biodesign Institute Executive Director Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D. “His passion and commitment in taking on the challenges of combating infectious diseases and the impact he is having on urgent societal problems make him a stellar example of the translational research spirit of the Biodesign Institute.”

Curtiss was drawn to ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of a New American University and a new state-of-the-art research enterprise, the Biodesign Institute, which opened in 2004. Shortly after arriving at ASU, Curtiss received the largest support of his career, more than $15.4 million from the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also received generous and continued support from the National Institutes of Health throughout his career.

Curtiss’ primary focus is alleviating worldwide suffering and death from infectious diseases, particularly in the developing world. At Biodesign, he directs the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, where he oversees a 130-member research team working on more than a dozen projects. He is also a professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

One of his major projects is development of a next-generation vaccine against bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia kills more children around the world each year than any other infectious disease, and the rising costs of vaccines has spurred researchers to develop new solutions. Curtiss and his global team are trying to perfect a safe, yet potent vaccine to fight pneumonia and can be tolerated even by newborn babies — and orally administered as a single-dose, low-cost solution. If successful, the new vaccine against bacterial pneumonia promises to outperform existing injectable vaccine in terms of safety, affordability, ease of distribution and effectiveness.

Preliminary studies have been successful, and the vaccine technology has moved forward to human clinical trials. In addition, his team is also targeting vaccine development for a host of other diseases, and to protect poultry and livestock against a broad range of bacterial marauders.

Before coming to ASU in 2004, Curtiss was the George William and Irene Keochig Freiberg professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he chaired the Department of Biology for ten years. His body of published work includes more than 250 reviewed articles. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago.

A ceremony honoring Curtiss will take place at the AZBio Awards on September 17, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of our bioscience industry.

Past recipients of the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement include: David S. Alberts, M.D., Director Emeritus at the Arizona Cancer Center, Raymond L. Woosley, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman Emeritus of the Critical Path Institute, and Thomas M. Grogan, M.D., founder of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.

For registration and more information, go to www.azbio.awards.com.