Cancer Target Portfolio to date
Over 20,000 sequences have been processed from more than 3000 mouse tumors, and nearly 1,000 mouse oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes along with their human counterparts have been identified. While known oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, including several commercially-pursued bio-therapeutic candidates, were recovered by the screen, two thirds of the targets are not in the public domain. The portfolio not only provides a list of target genes, but importantly, also defines a network of cooperative pathways involved in the carcinogenic process.
Picobella has filed for patent protection on ~700 new targets for use in cancer; in addition, patent protection has been filed for composition of matter on ~100 of these targets. Picobella estimates that the screen is operationally 50% complete.
Antibodies for Diagnostics
To enable the development of defined panels of targets important for (1) the diagnosis of and prognosis for specific cancers and (2) patient stratification in clinical trials, Picobella is generating antibodies to the 1,000 cancer gene products. These antibodies will be tested by immunohistochemistry on multiple human tissue arrays to identify the part of the oncogenome that is important in human tumors.
New discoveries: microRNAs in cancer
While genes and proteins have been the focus of diagnostic and therapeutic research in past decades, the over 400 known human microRNAs and an estimated 34,000 non-coding RNAs are thought to represent a vast and unexplored layer of cellular regulation. MicroRNAs in particular have recently been shown to have better diagnostic utility in certain cases in classifying human tumors than classical gene expression. Picobella’s core technology has led to the functional identification of over 300 new human microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs that cause cancer. Patent protection has been filed for these proprietary sequences, which can be used as a base for a new approach to cancer diagnosis, and for fundamental studies of oncogenesis.