/ News / Significant milestone for Almac’s breast cancer test

Significant milestone for Almac’s breast cancer test

Rebecca Kincade on January 21, 2014 - 12:19 pm in News

Almac’s Diagnostics business unit today announced the publication of its breast cancer chemotherapy response test in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute ().
The JCNI, is internationally acclaimed as the source for the most up to date news and information from the rapidly changing fields of cancer research and treatment.

Breast cancer is the world’s most common cancer among women with one in eight diagnosed in their lifetime. Currently there are no means of identifying those patients who respond to chemotherapy and as such many patients are being treated by drugs which may not benefit them. Therefore Almac’s objective in the development of this test was to provide a means of identifying those breast cancer patients more likely to respond to standard of care chemotherapy treatment.

The article entitled ‘Identification and Validation of an Anthracycline/Cyclophosphamide–Based Chemotherapy Response Assay in Breast Cancer’ led  by Almac’s Medical Director, Professor Richard Kennedy, gives detail on the development of this test, which was carried out by Almac in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and the Mayo Clinic Rochester, USA.

The study analysed 139 breast cancer patients and identified a group who had a deficiency in DNA damage repair, a process needed to repair damaged cells. Initial validation studies showed that patients with this deficiency are less responsive to certain types of chemotherapy and those patients without this deficiency are up to four times more likely to respond.

Once further developed and brought into the clinic, the test is expected to result in significant patient benefit through better selection of the optimal treatment for patients on an individual basis. This therefore results in the increased likelihood of identification of more personalised and successful therapies which will, in turn, lead to significant healthcare cost savings. Experts say that up to 200,000 patients in the US and Europe could benefit from the new test, which will not be commercially available for at least another year while analysis is carried out.

Professor Paul Harkin, President and Managing Director of Almac’s Diagnostics business unit, said: “The publication of this data represents a significant milestone for Almac as we transition this test into the clinic. The publication of these results combined with our recent out-licensing of the test to Genomic Health for use in breast cancer patients, highlights the quality of the science being carried out here in Almac.”

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organization that provides an extensive range of integrated services to over 600 companies globally within the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors.

The international company is a privately owned organisation that has organically grown over 30 years and now employs in excess of 3,300 highly skilled personnel.  Almac is headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland with US operations based in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California. Almac Diagnostics is a division of Almac Group Ltd focusing on the discovery, development and delivery of novel prognostic and predictive tests.

For more information visit www.almacgroup.com or e-mail 

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