OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) -- UroCor research on the genetics of prostate
cancer has earned one U.S. patent and notice of allowance, the
Oklahoma City urological disease management company said Monday.
The discoveries could lead to breakthrough diagnostic and
therapeutic testing capabilities within a few years for UroCor,
handled about 50,000 prostate cancer biopsies last year.
"This is a major accomplishment in the field," proclaimed Dr.
Donald S. Coffee, director of research at Johns Hopkins Hospital's
Brady Urological Research Institute.
Carcinoma of the prostate is the second most frequent cause of
cancer-related death of men in the United States, and its increased
incidence over the last decade has made it the most prevalent of all
cancers. Although it accounts for about 200,000 newly diagnosed
cases per year, its progression remains poorly understood.
The discoveries by UroCor scientists relate to novel genes that
change dramatically when prostate tissue transforms either into
benign prostate disease or into cancer and metastatic disease.
The patents announced Monday, as well as other pending patents by
UroCor, cover the nucleic acid sequences of these genes and their
uses in diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic testing. Some of the
genes have been found to be significantly altered in the blood of
prostate cancer patients with metastatic disease, while others are
specific solely to prostate cells and such cells in the lymph nodes
and bone marrow of certain patients with metastatic disease.
"With further development, some of these genes may provide keys to
important improvements in solving the most difficult tasks in the
management of prostate cancer and possibly certain other malignant
diseases," said Dr. Robert W. Veltri, vice president and general
manager of UroCor's UroSciences Group.
"Our key areas of focus within UroCor are the tasks of determining
whether and how far the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland -
- `staging' the disease -- and early prediction of those cancers
which are most aggressive and therefore pose the greatest danger to
the patient. Determining which cancers present the greatest threat,
and just as importantly, which ones are less likely to adversely
affect patients' well-being during their lifetimes, could help
significantly improve the care of these patients and would reduce
cost of managing this disease."
UroCor's scientists started research to identify these genetic
alterations in 1993. These discoveries were made using not only
various well-known methods but also certain techniques developed by
UroCor's own scientists. …