Use of Genetic Information Increases Cancer Survival

The 2014 Cancer Progress report cites genetics as a key factor in cancer survival rates, causing a flurry of media attention.

Increasingly, patients suffering from cancers such as leukemia are being splintered into smaller groups based on the specific genetics of their malignancies, rather than where the disease occurs.

That has allowed researchers to pinpoint specific genetic mutations with new drugs, such as Spectrum Pharmaceuticals’s Beleodaq for lymphoma, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July.

View the entire, 112 page report here.

To read a summary, click here.

The Cancer Progress Report website is here.

by Tom Johnson

Pain Management in Hospice Care

Midwestern home health and hospice provider ViaQuest is using the PGXL multi-drug diagnostic panel to add pharmacogenetic testing to their pain management program. Kathy Richard, ViaQuest’s chief clinical officer, describes the advantage:

“The current prescription method is guess work and often we are with patients who can’t communicate pain level. The genetic piece narrows it down for us to get the best dose.”

ViaQuest is tracking the effect a genetic understanding has on patient outcomes, and expects within three years to have data demonstrating the benefits of pharmacogenetics in pain management. Says Richard:

We hope that in the next 4 – 5 years, we are not the only hospice group doing this. The technology is available and a benefit to patients and families.


by Tom Johnson

Genetic Information Improves Pain Treatment

According to a report by the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, more than 100 million American suffer from persistent pain at an annual cost of around $600 billion. The skyrocketing use of pain medications is causing a corresponding increase in the number of medication-related crises, with more than 1.2 million opioid-caused emergency room visits a year.

The need for gene-based personalized medicine in pain treatment is most obvious to those who work on a day-to-day basis with patients. Speaking to the 2014 meeting of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Brett Badgley Snodgrass, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, of Comprehensive Primary Care in Bartlett, Tenn., said:

“Safe prescribing is of utmost importance, primarily to decrease diversion and abuse, but also to make it as safe and appropriate for our patients…Genomics can improve diagnostic and prescribing accuracy and speed. It’s helping with patients that are hard to treat – those in which no medications work, those that become very sedated with low doses of medication, those who are on high doses  that are still not getting appropriate effects with appropriate dosing.”

by Tom Johnson

NeXosome™ Technical Details


Recent work characterizing the systematic and purposeful shedding of biomarker-rich microvesicles or exosomes from cancer and other diseased or injured cells into the bloodstream has launched this important new sector in the molecular diagnostics field. NX PharmaGen (NXPG) has developed the NeXosome™ Platform to enable research excellence through the consolidation of core intellectual property, enabling tools, and working relationships with experts in the field.

NXPG’s proprietary NeXosome Platform achieves rapid plasma fractionation and microparticle isolation via patent-pending modified Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) methods, which are compatible with contemporary proteomic and genomic analytical systems. SEC has been used as a mainstay of viral purification for decades, and NXPG has modified traditional methods to afford high throughput processing, collecting and differentiating high molecular weight void volume and subsequent peaks containing low molecular weight proteins and soluble RNA.   The microparticles isolated in this manner are stable to multiple freeze thaw cycles, and can be shipped for sharing and analytical evaluation of such preparations. Depending upon application, these enriched extracellular vesicle pellets can be further refined using affinity based methodologies to sub-fraction certain particle populations. Uniquely, the NeXosome process produces high yields of RNA and protein content from 1ml of plasma, and features the ability to easily remove serum proteins to allow for evaluation of low abundant proteins as true personalized biomarkers.

The NeXosome procedure features a high throughput process that can be accessed through the NeXosome Center of Excellence, can be deployed as a disposable reagent kit, is easy to utilize, and has been scaled for commercial lab deployment. The downstream processing aspects of the NeXosome technology are even amenable to enhancing other contemporary isolation methods by improving particle and content yield and purity

by Tom Johnson

The Coming Fusion of Personalized Medicine

PGXL histotech Joelle Weaver, interviewed about her job and helping set up the new Anatomic Pathology lab at PGXL. In the article, she explains the direction we’re headed at PGXL:

In the future, to make medicine more personal, I’d like to see a report that explains everything – from the physicality of the tumor to the genetics – for the physician and the patient. People with cancer can be so overwhelmed – they get bits and pieces of information and no one synthesizes it for them. Pathology is something everyone can make sense of. We can use the tangibility of the pathological findings and connect them to the clinical ramifications for each patient.

Read it here.


by Tom Johnson