MDS Analytical Technologies' Laser Capture Microdissection Helps Facilitate Discovery of Potential New Colon-Cancer Biomarker

    SUNNYVALE, CA, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - MDS Analytical Technologies, a leader in
innovative solutions for drug discovery and life sciences research, today
announced that its Arcturus(R) Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) instruments
were used by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) in their
discovery of genetic variations that may prove to be key predictors of risk
for colon cancer and indicators of the disease's progression.
    Researchers hope that these important findings will provide doctors with
much improved diagnostic tools for colon cancer. By identifying people that
carry these genetic variations, doctors will be better equipped to determine
the course of treatment for patients with the disease. This data may also
prove important as doctors advise patients on health and lifestyle choices
that may influence one's risk of developing the disease.
    "MDS Analytical Technologies is very pleased that its Arcturus line of
LCM instruments played such a key role in this important discovery that may
move us even closer to preventing more people from developing colon cancer,"
said Andy Boorn, President of MDS Analytical Technologies. "By maintaining
custody of the sample throughout the microdissection process, the Arcturus
system removed any guesswork from the experiment, and allowed the researchers
at the University of Cincinnati to collect only their desired material for
this important study."
    As reported in the January 16, 2009 issue of PLoS Genetics, a
peer-review, open-access scientific journal published by the U.S. Public
Library of Science, scientists at UC used Arcturus(R) LCM systems to
investigate the role that the abnormal regulation of a known prostate cancer
biomarker - alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase (AMACR) - plays in colon
cancer. AMACR is a protein that breaks down branched-chain fatty acids, which
are found in red meats and dairy products, and are suspected to be risk
factors for the disease.
    "AMACR was recently shown to have abnormal expression patterns in colon
cancer, but not much was known about how it's regulated at the gene level,"
said Shuk-mei Ho, Ph.D., Chair of UC's Department of Environmental Health and
senior author of the study. "Uncovering how the gene is abnormally activated
in cancer will give us a better understanding of how to treat the disease in
the end."
    To find answers, scientists at UC, along with researchers at the
University of Massachusetts, used Arcturus(R) LCM instruments to enrich a
homogenous population of cancer cells from colon carcinoma tissue, so that
their data would not be obscured by non-carcinoma material that otherwise
would be included in the analysis. Scientists analyzed a series of samples
that represented the entire colon cancer progression, comparing the genetic
sequences of the laser capture microdissected colon carcinoma cells with
sequences from a general population. Comparative sequencing of the two groups
of samples revealed the genetic variations that may be the triggers for
abnormal protein expression found in colon cancer.
    "Only by using LCM were we able to uncover these deletions in the AMACR
sequence," Dr. Ho said. "We needed to look at only the cancer cells versus
normal cells, and LCM was the only way to achieve this level of sensitivity."
    In addition to the novel deletions, the study identified putative
transcription factors that, under normal circumstances, may bind to the
deleted sequence to regulate gene expression. The study also found a novel
genetic variant in AMACR that is present in the general population, and which
may influence the course of how colon cancer may progress.
    "We need to start paying closer attention to how the environment in which
we live and the things we put in our bodies interact with our genetic makeup
to influence our cancer risk," Dr. Ho added.
    The UC research team expects to expand this research into a multi-center
study in the near future. The project is currently funded by the National
Institutes of Health and the U.S. Army Prostate Cancer Program.

    ArcturusXT(TM) System

    MDS Analytical Technologies will present the ArcturusXT(TM) system at the
American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting 2009, February 18-20 in
Denver, CO (MDS Analytical Technologies' booth No. 606). The system will also
be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting
2009, April 19-22 in Denver, CO (MDS Analytical Technologies' booth No. 546).

    About Arcturus(R) LCM Instruments

    The Arcturus(R) LCM instruments isolate pure cell populations from
heterogeneous populations of cells by employing MDS Analytical Technologies'
exclusive infrared (IR) laser-based capture technology, which has been
designed to maintain biomolecule integrity within the microdissected samples
for use in downstream analyses. Whether researchers are using LCM alone or in
combination with the ultraviolet laser cutting option, the gentle non-damaging
IR capture technology allows the custody of the microdissected sample to be
maintained throughout the process. This gives researchers confidence and
assurance that their desired material has been collected. Enrichment of
specific populations of cells through this process enables researchers to
perform sensitive and specific molecular analyses, otherwise not possible
without the use of LCM. Arcturus(R) LCM instruments are for research use only
and not intended for clinical or diagnostic purposes.

    About MDS Analytical Technologies

    MDS Analytical Technologies, a business unit of MDS Inc., is focused on
the research, design, manufacture and marketing of state-of-the-art tools for
mass-spectrometry, drug discovery and bioresearch. MDS Analytical
Technologies' products are designed to help accelerate the complex process of
discovering and developing new drug compounds, and are sold to research
scientists around the world. The mass-spectrometer product lines are also sold
globally through joint ventures with two of the world's leading analytical
instrumentation and life sciences companies, Life Technologies Corp. and
PerkinElmer, Inc. Find out more at or

    About MDS Inc.

    MDS Inc. (TSX: MDS; NYSE:   MDZ) is a global life-sciences company that
provides market-leading products and services that our customers need for the
development of drugs, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. We are a
leading global provider of pharmaceutical contract research, medical isotopes
for molecular imaging, radiotherapeutics, and analytical instruments. MDS has
more than 5,000 highly skilled people in 29 countries. Find out more at or by calling 1-888-MDS-7222, 24 hours a day.

For further information:

For further information: Media: Tom Driscoll, (408) 747-3681,; Investors: Kim Lee, (416) 213-4721,

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