Arizona's TGen and Ventana Medical Systems partner to find cancer biomarkers

Two major biomedical institutions in Arizona are partnering to develop new diagnostic biomarkers to treat cancer.

The nonprofit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Ventana Medical Systems, a member of the Roche ($RHHBY) Group, announced a collaborative research agreement to bring cancer diagnostic tests to patients. The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

For its first project, the collaboration will first focus on diagnostic, prognostic and drug biomarkers for pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of any type of cancer, with fewer than one in four patients surviving more than a year, and fewer than 6% surviving more than 5 years. Pancreatic cancer is so deadly because it's difficult to detect the disease in its early stages and current drugs are often ineffective.

"Our goal is to rapidly translate basic research findings into actionable targets," Jeffrey Trent, president and research director of TGen, said in a statement.

"When a patient is faced with cancer, getting an accurate diagnosis quickly is the most important part of their treatment," Ventana President and CEO Mara Aspinall said.

- read the press release

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