Zieba A, Grannas K, Söderberg O, Gullberg M, Nilsson M, Landegren U
N Biotechnol 29 (6) 634-640 [2012-09-15; online 2012-05-24]
The heterogeneous nature of cancer results in highly variable therapeutic responses even among patients with identical stages and grades of a malignancy. The move towards personalised medicine in cancer therapy has therefore been motivated by a need to customise therapy according to molecular features of individual tumours. Companion diagnostics serves to support early drug development, it can provide surrogate markers in clinical trials, and also guide selection of individual therapies and monitoring of responses in routine clinical care. The era of companion diagnostics can be said to have begun with the introduction of the HercepTest - a first-of-a-kind diagnostic tool developed by DakoCytomation in 1998 to select patients for therapy with the anticancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab). Herceptin and the paired test proved that companion diagnostics can help guide patient-tailored therapies. We will discuss herein technologies to analyse companion diagnostics markers at the level of DNA, RNA or protein, focusing on a series of methods developed in our laboratory that can facilitate drug development and help stratify patients for therapy.