Center for Molecular Medicine One of the First Midwest Labs to Offer Advanced Test for Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 General News
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ - The Center for MolecularMedicine (CMM) today announced it is one of the first Midwest-basedlaboratories to offer the Veridex CellSearch(TM) System to physicians withpatients suffering from metastatic breast cancer (also called stage IV or"advanced").

The FDA-approved CellSearch System is the first diagnostic test toautomatically identify and count circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in thebloodstream from a blood sample. Studies have shown that if five or more CTCsare present in a drawn blood sample, progression-free and overall survival inthese patients are shorter than if the CTC value is below five cells. Thistest enables physicians to monitor their patients' progress during treatmentfor metastatic breast cancer, allowing the physician to make changes asnecessary.

According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, an estimated40,460 women will die from breast cancer in 2007 with another 178,480diagnosed. Of the 40,460 women who die, the majority will die from recurrentmetastatic cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is the stage of breast cancerwhen the cancerous cells (or circulating tumor cells) break away from thetumor in the breast and spread to other locations in the body and grow.Although many other treatment options are available, physicians usually mustwait several months before being able to determine if a selected treatment iseffective.

Published reports from The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journalof Clinical Oncology have shown the detection of CTCs in the blood tosuccessfully predict the disease progression and survival in women withmetastatic breast cancer. The CellSearch System will help physicians predictthe effectiveness of treatment at any time through its ability to locate onecirculating tumor cell in the 40 billion cells contained in a 7.5ml sample ofblood.

"The CellSearch System is a great example of exactly the kind of work theCMM was created to perform. We are able to leverage cutting-edge technologyfor the direct, real-world benefit of patients by helping their physiciansmake more informed decisions regarding their treatment," said CMM ExecutiveDirector Dr. Daniel H. Farkas. "We are very pleased to be one of a selectnumber of facilities in the world offering the test, and look forward tohelping the region's medical community put it to good use."

The CellSearch System, which is distributed by Veridex, a Johnson &Johnson company, was cleared by the FDA in January 2004 as an in vitrodiagnostic test to aid in the identifying and counting of CTCs in a bloodsample. Pricing for the test is $495 and CMM is working with area insuranceproviders regarding coverage. Physicians interested in obtaining moreinformation may contact CMM directly at 616-391-4330 or

About the CMM

The Center for Molecular Medicine, a joint venture between Grand Rapids,Mich.-based Spectrum Health and Van Andel Institute (VAI), brings WestMichigan a cutting-edge laboratory that will aid in early diagnoses andenhance personalized medicine. It offers 21st century molecular technologiesfor investigation of complex diseases like cancer, heart disease, mentalillness and other conditions at the DNA, RNA and protein levels. The Centerbrings new and increased opportunities for diagnostics and pharmaceuticalcompanies to conduct trials in a world-class medical and clinical researchenvironment. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Center for Molecular Medicine

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