Imaging, informatics steer cancer regimen

Tissue-based biomarker technology that can simultaneously map more than 25 proteins in tumors at the sub-cellular level is the product of a two-year-old collaboration between GE Global Research (NYSE: GE) and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY). The technology is "an important step in the development of personalized and more effective cancer treatments," says an announcement from the companies.

The molecular pathology technology allows researchers to look at a map of a tissue sample to see a cancer cell's biomarker signaling pathway, as well as activity between signaling networks. The technology has so far been tested on colon and prostate cancer tissue samples; the developers believe it is applicable to all types of cancer.

GE researchers have built a prototype capable of staining, washing and re-staining tissue samples for study under a digital microscope. The effort involved experts in the areas of biology, bioinformatics, optics, fluidics, chemistry and mechanical systems. The prototype combines image analysis of cancerous cells and structures with GE patented visualization tools to provide a color map of protein concentrations within the sample.

- here's the release on the pact with Lilly