Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 10 of 51 January/February 2018 Clinical OMICs 9 BERG, Mass General, Brigham and Women's Collaborate to ID Alzheimer's Biomarkers Biopharm company BERG, and Boston-ar- ea academic medical centers Massachu- setts General Hospital (MGH), and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have forged a research partnership designed to better understand the disease pathology of neu- rodegenerative disorders such as Alzhei- mer's disease and to develop novel bio- marker strategies to address them. Under the terms of the collaboration, BERG will apply its multi-omic profiling Interrogative Biology research platform to a longitudinal collection of clinically an- notated patient biospecimens that were collected as part of the Harvard biomarker study, held by MGH and BWH. The intent is to derive new insight on the molecular characteristics of Alzheimer's disease with the ultimate goal of developing new path- ways for both therapeutic and diagnostic development. "The neurodegenerative discovery pro- gram at BERG has made significant prog- ress toward understanding the molecular basis of neurological diseases," said Niv- en R. Narain, BERG's president and CEO. and PD-L1 levels, and the mechanisms be- hind it, the new study offers new possibili- ties for combination therapies using differ- ent drugs. "Understanding how different muta- tions protect cancer cells from the immune system will help us to offer patients more precise and effective treatments," said Matthew Coelho, Ph.D., a researcher at the Francis Crick Institute. "Antibodies that tar- get PD-L1 proteins are currently used in the clinic, and they work very well in around a fifth of lung cancer patients. At the mo- ment, doctors can measure PD-L1 levels to help determine which patients might respond best, but this only gives you half of the story. "For cancer immunotherapies targeting PD-L1 to work, you need two things: First, you need PD-L1 to be blocking immune attack in the patient's tumor. Second, the immune system is only able to recognize and attack cancer cells that produce 'an- tigens,' molecules that immune cells can bind to. Cancer antigens are currently dif- ficult to test for clinically, so PD-L1 is now a major test for deciding if immunotherapy will work. It is therefore very important to understand what turns on PD-L1 in cancer." "Through this agreement, we can address the significant unmet need to improve detection, diagnosis, and stratification of neurological diseases and speed earlier clinical intervention, which is especially important in the asymptomatic molecular stages through the early dementia phase of Alzheimer's disease." BERG's platform significantly leverages artificial intelligence analytics to the data it generates to provide new insight by developing a better understanding each patient's disease profile. "BERG's artificial intelligence technol- ogy provides novel perspectives of neu- rological disease and creates a unique platform for validation and development of new drug targets and biomarkers for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease," said Steven E. Arnold, M.D., translational neurology head, Interdisciplinary Brain Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. MGH looks forward to working with BERG to help identify new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to tackling this enig- matic degenerative disease." JUAN GARTNER / Getty Images CHRISTIAN LAGEREK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Getty Images Colin Anderson Getty Images

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