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March 30, 2015

CytoTest and Uniformed Services University’s Center for Prostate Disease Research enter into CRADA to advance cancer diagnosis and prognosis

ROCKVILLE, Maryland, March 30, 2015 – CytoTest Inc., the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), and The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) announced today that they have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

Under the terms of the CRADA, CytoTest will collaborate with the Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) on the development of next-generation approaches to prostate cancer diagnosis and prognosis. CPDR is a Department of Defense Prostate Center of Excellence program of USU’s Department of Surgery, administered by HJF. Both USU and HJF are located in Bethesda, Maryland.

CPDR has discovered a number of genetic and biochemical prostate cancer markers with the potential to be used as early diagnostic or prognostic indicators. As part of the initial CRADA efforts with CPDR, CytoTest will provide reagents, instrumentation, manufacturing, scale-up, biomarker screening services and assay construction capabilities to advance the development of these markers for use in clinical diagnostic testing.

The collaboration combines CPDR’s discovery and translational research abilities and unique clinical resources with CytoTest’s genomic medicine expertise and diagnostic assay development infrastructure. The studies will be conducted under the direction of Shiv Srivastava, Ph.D., CPDRs Co-director and Scientific Director, and Professor in USU’s Department of Surgery, working with a research and development team led by Reinhard Ebner, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at CytoTest.

“We are enthusiastic and honored to assist an exceptional institution such as CPDR in their cutting-edge basic and clinical research efforts,” said Joseph Cheng, President and CEO of CytoTest. “The collaboration is especially rewarding since investigators at CPDR and in our company have been engaged in fruitful working relationships for some time. Leveraging CPDR’s latest discoveries with CytoTest’s expertise in cytogenetic analysis and our resources for validating and optimizing genomics-based diagnostic assays, this CRADA is an exciting milestone for CytoTest.”

“During our investigations of regulation, expression and functions of prostate cancer-associated genes, we have uncovered a highly promising series of candidates for early detection as well as biomarkers with prognostic potential,” said Albert Dobi, Ph.D., Associate Director at CPDR. “We look forward to seeing some of these discoveries advance closer to the clinic.”

“From the beginning, our basic science and translational research program has brought together urologists, cancer biologists, pathologists, epidemiologists, and bioinformatics and clinical research experts striving to combat prostate cancer,” said Dr. Srivastava. “Innovative project partnerships are an integral component of our efforts toward developing and evaluating novel technologies for improving diagnosis, prognosis and personalized medicine of prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-cutaneous cancer in men and the second most common cause of male death from cancer. In 2015, approximately 220,800 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and an estimated 27,540 men will die from the disease.

Prostate cancer is also characterized by significant health disparities, with striking differences in incidence and mortality among ethnic, social and geographic patient groups, precipitating intensive investigations in search of sub-population specific biomarkers and therapies.

Read the Article at Cytotest site


March 20, 2015

Collaborative Summer Training Program for HBCU Undergraduates in Washington, DC

Since its introduction in 2004, the goal of the PCRP’s Collaborative Undergraduate HBCU Student Summer Training Program Award has been to provide educational and training opportunities for HBCU undergraduate students at a critical decision-making point in their education, with the expectation that these trainees will pursue careers in prostate cancer research and thus increase the cadre of the next generation of researchers who will, in turn, make new discoveries and develop innovative treatments for prostate cancer.

Dr. Shiv Srivastava received an FY07 PCRP Collaborative Undergraduate HBCU Student Summer Training Program award to provide foundational cancer research opportunities for undergraduates at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) – Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR). In this collaborative effort, Dr. Deepak Kumar served as the Partnering Principal Investigator at UDC. This program allowed UDC students with limited to no exposure in biomedical research to gain experience in state-of-the-art prostate cancer translational research.

Through the dynamic 10-week summer program at CPDR, students strengthened what they had already learned – in college science courses – by focusing on prostate cancer. They interacted with leading prostate cancer researchers, learned how to work effectively in teams, and developed the skills needed to present their research findings through regular seminars. Students also learned about the current trends in cancer research, including the biologic basis of prostate cancer health disparities.

This program has provided a gateway for students to pursue careers in biomedical and prostate cancer research. Ten (10) of the 16 students trained in the program are pursuing graduate/medical/professional schools, and they attribute their success to the UDC-CPDR program. Students have presented their research at various national conferences, including the PCRP’s IMPaCT meeting; they have also gone on to win several awards for their presentations. In summary, this has helped expose UDC students to biomedical and prostate cancer research, guiding them into professional/graduate/medical schools, and providing them with the opportunity to join the biomedical workforce and develop into the next generation of prostate cancer researchers. Based on the program’s success, Drs. Srivastava and Kumar received another HBCU Student Summer Training Program award from the PCRP in FY13. This will ensure that current and future students at UDC will have the opportunity to participate in this valuable training program for several summers to come.

Read the Article in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) Prostate Cancer Reseach Program Brochure (pg 13)