Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today announced the launch of the ddPCR™ KRAS Screening Multiplex Kit, the latest offering in the company’s Droplet Digital™ PCR line of predesigned, fully wet-lab validated assays. The ddPCR KRAS Screening Multiplex Kit offers improved sensitivity and simultaneous detection of the seven most common KRAS mutations in a single ddPCR experiment.
KRAS mutations are found in 90% of pancreatic cancer cases and 30% of colorectal cancer cases, making it a gene of great interest to cancer researchers. The Multiplex Kit is able to detect and quantify extremely low levels (down to 0.2%) of KRAS mutant DNA in a single assay. Cancer samples are often available in limited quantities. Using the Multiplex Kit, researchers can derive results from low amounts of starting material.
“The KRAS Screening Multiplex Kit delivers a simple yes/no answer as to whether a KRAS mutation exists in smaller samples,” said Dr. Filip Janku of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. “If researchers were to test for the presence of each possible mutation they could end up performing seven to ten separate PCR experiments only to discover the sample was negative. Multiplex kits such as the KRAS Screening Multiplex Kit allow researchers to screen for multiple mutations in a single reaction, saving time and costly resources.”
Bio-Rad’s ddPCR technology provides an absolute measure of target DNA molecules without the need for a standard curve. Together with the ddPCR KRAS Screening Multiplex Kit, this technology enables detection of a single mutant molecule in a background of 2,000 wild-type molecules (0.05% mutation frequency). Measuring these extremely low levels of mutation abundance could lead to the development of new, less invasive and more sensitive cancer diagnostics.
ddPCR KRAS Screening Multiplex Kits are compatible with all of Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR Systems, including the QX200™ AutoDG™ Droplet Digital™ PCR System.
For more information on Bio-Rad’s ddPCR KRAS Screening Multiplex Kit, please visit www.bio-rad.com/KRASpr.
Canadian science is world-class and many Canadian scientists are world-renowned. While it is not surprising to find Canadian scientists presenting their findings at locations far from home, it is unusual to hear about Canadian molecular biologists traveling to Shanghai to present an artistic rendition of their work. The scientist/artist, Dr. Campbell, claims that many of his paintings are inspired by cell biology and cardiovascular sciences.
Can you see the resemblance?
A team of scientists from the University of British Columbia have genetically engineered mice that are able to withstand the wrinkle-inducing power of UV light found in the strong summer sun. It has been known for decades that prolonged exposure to the sun over one’s lifetime can cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. This has lead to a plethora of anti-aging skin creams and sunscreens that are designed to block out harmful UV rays in the hope of preventing sun-induced wrinkles. Now, Professor David Granville of UBC’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine has engineered mice lacking Granzyme B and found that the mice retained youthful-looking skin compared to the aged skin on normal mice. However, the benefits of Granville’s findings are not just limited to youthful looking skin.
Granzyme B (GzmB) is a serine protease that is expressed by a variety of cells and cleaves a number of extracellular membrane (ECM) proteins during inflammatory events. The breakdown of the ECM is known to be an indicator of many chronic inflammatory diseases. Thus, Granville and his team hypothesized that inhibiting the activity of GzmB may work to inhibit the breakdown of ECM during the inflammatory process. When Granville exposed GzmB deficient mice to solar-stimulated UV irradiation, they found that degradation of ECM proteins had slowed down which had manifest itself in the lack of development of expected wrinkles. Based on these findings, Granville has proposed that blocking the activity of GzmB may be an effective method for preventing other diseases associated with ECM degradation such as aneurysms and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which are caused by the breakdown of collagen and other proteins that provide structure to blood vessels and lung passages.
Reference: Parkinson, L. G., Toro, A., Zhao, H., Brown, K., Tebbutt, S. J. and Granville, D. J. (2014), Granzyme B mediates both direct and indirect cleavage of extracellular matrix in skin after chronic low-dose ultraviolet light irradiation. Aging Cell. doi: 10.1111/acel.12298.
In this enlightening talk, Dr. Kamala Patel from the University of Calgary, tells us something that we all intuitively know but cannot communicate to others. Science is not about truth. Science is a journey. It is about knowledge. Science is an adventure.
Science is like kayaking on a river, where you were a moment ago is not where you are right now.