New target on cancer

Marketplace Staff Mar 27, 2007


BOB MOON: There’s a new company launching in Washington D.C. today that offers hope for cancer patients. Theranostics says it can help doctors decide what drug will be most effective for individual patients. Pat Loeb reports, it’s a joint enterprise between a non-profit institution and the for-profit world.

PAT LOEB: Cancer drugs target the proteins in tumors in order to destroy them, but until now doctors have had to generalize about what proteins are likely to be activated in a tumor.

Theranostics will use micro-ray technology to pinpoint those proteins so doctors will be able to prescribe just the right drug.

Chip Petricoin is the company’s chief scientific officer.

CHIP PETRICOIN: For the first time, we actually have providing a missing piece of information, the state of the actual drug targets themselves, that are truly activated in that tissue specimen.

Petricoin and his partner Lance Liotta perfected the technology at George Mason University, which helped them spin it off into a for-profit company.

PETRICOIN: There is commercial value to these discoveries and I would say that’s why research universities like Mason are economic engines for their regions.

Petricoin says he and Liotta left the federal government for George Mason because of its entrepreneurial spirit.

I’m Pat Loeb for Marketplace.

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